AI & Applications
Drugging the ‘Undruggable”. Computer-Aided Drug Discovery of Novel Cancer Drugs - Artem Cherkasov, Faculty of Medicine at UBC

Artem Cherkasov

DATE: Tue, April 23, 2019 - 4:00 pm

LOCATION: Computer Science Building - X836, 2366 Main Mall, V6T 1Z4


Title: Drugging the ‘Undruggable”. Computer-Aided Drug Discovery of Novel Cancer Drugs.

Abstract: Small-molecule drug design is a complex and iterative decision-making process relying on pre-existing knowledge and driven by experimental data. Low molecular weight chemicals represent an attractive therapeutic option as they are readily accessible to organic synthesis and can easily be characterized. Their potency, as well as pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties can be systematically and rationally investigated, and ultimately optimized via expert science behind medicinal chemistry and methods of computer-aided drug design (CADD).

In recent years, significant advances in molecular modeling techniques afforded a variety of tools to effectively identify potential binding pockets on prospective cancer targets, to map key interactions between ligands and their binding sites, to construct and assess energetics of the resulting complexes, to predict ADMET properties of candidate compounds, and to systematically analyze experimental and computational data to derive meaningful structure-activity relationships leading to the creation of a drug candidate. This presentation features several real cases of cancer drug discovery campaigns accomplished in a relatively short time with limited resources.

These studies integrated an arsenal of available molecular modeling techniques with an array of experimental tools to successfully develop a novel class of potent and selective inhibitors for several Prostate Cancer targets that traditionally have been deemed as ‘undruggable’ such DNA-binding domains of human androgen receptor, ERG and MYC proteins. The successful discovery of the corresponding small molecule inhibitors exemplifies the importance of team science, integrative approach to drug discovery, and the use of best practices in CADD.

Bio:  Artem Cherkasov is a Professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia and Head of Therapeutics Development Core at the Vancouver Prostate Centre ( Research interests include computer-aided drug design, structure-activity modeling, drug reprofiling, new therapies and development of novel cheminformatics and bioinformatics tools.

Dr. Cherkasov authored more than 200 articles and conference proceedings, more than 70 patents and 7 book chapters. During his tenure at the UBC, Dr. Cherkasov has been a principal applicant or co-applicant on a number of successful grants totalling over 70M dollars, and founded several spinoff biotech companies.

Dr. Cherkasov holds a number of current research grants from NSERC, CIHR, Genome BC, Prostate Cancer Canada (including the Established Investigator Award), Prostate Cancer BC, US Department of Defense, CCSRI, NIH and Prostate Cancer USA, Canadian Foundation of Innovation among others.

In December of 2015, the Androgen Receptor inhibitor developed by Dr. Cherkasov was licensed by Hoffman-LaRoche Company for 142M dollars – a record amount for Canadian academic institutions

The work of Dr. Cherkasov was featured in various media sources including ‘Financial Times’, ‘New Scientist, ‘Toronto Star’, ‘Vancouver Sun’, ‘Vancouver Express’ ‘Health Research and Innovation’ and more recently - Montecito Magazine, Canadian Institute of Cancer Research) and USA Department of Defense.


Host: Dr. Julie Robillard, Assistant Professor, Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, UBC;

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