CNS Therapeutics Xchange
West Coast
San FranCisco 2021
September 22nd

Welcome to hubXchange’s West Coast CNS Therapeutics Xchange 2021, bringing together executives from pharma and biotech to address and find solutions to the key issues faced in developing CNS therapies.
Discussion topics will cover Novel Targets, Preclinical, Clinical Studies, Advanced Therapies and Drug Delivery.
Take advantage of this unique highly interactive meeting format designed for maximum engagement, collaboration and networking with your peers.

Novel Targets

Titles and Bullets
8:00 – 8:30am
8:30 – 9:00am
Opening Address & Keynote:
What Will Neurology Trials Look Like in the Post-COVID-19 ERA?
  • The Decentralized Landscape – Considering regulatory and operational features
  • The Post-COVID-19 Landscape – Exploring risk mitigation, contingency, and AI strategies
  • The Therapeutic Landscape – The advent of digital therapeutics at the expense of traditional drug therapy
Jimmy El Hokayem, Head, Neurology and Regenerative Medicine Center for Excellence, Biorasi

Head, Neurology and Regenerative Medicine Center for Excellence

As head of Biorasi’s Neurology and Regenerative Medicine Centers of Excellence, Dr. El Hokayem oversees clinical projects related to neurological indications and therapies. His unique expertise in the basic, translational, and clinical research spectrum provides critical insights at strategic, operational, and managerial levels. He is an expert clinical trial decentralizer and an early adopter of digital technologies and digital therapeutics.

With over twenty years’ experience in both academia and clinical research, Dr. El Hokayem has focused his research on rare neurological diseases. He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST). Dr. El Hokayem has published over twenty peer reviewed papers and received multiple awards from international foundations and entities.

Dr. El Hokayem received his Ph.D. from University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He continued his training with post-doctoral work at the University’s Hussman Institute for Human Genomics.

9:05 – 10:05am

Novel Targets in CNS Research- Past, Present and Future?
  • What are the future exciting drug targets for pain, neurology and psychiatry?
  • Discuss the current status of our existing “hot” CNS drug targets
  • Explore the barriers to investigating a truly novel target
  • Should we re-explore “failed” drug targets of the past

Vice President, Neuroscience 
Sangamo Therapeutics

Amy Pooler is Vice President of Neuroscience at Sangamo Therapeutics, a genomics medicine company based in San Francisco, California area.  At Sangamo she is leading the effort to bring novel, gene therapy approaches to the clinic for CNS disorders.  She obtained her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for research into regulation of amyloid formation.  She moved to University of Oxford as a Blaschko European Visiting Research Fellow in the MRC Anatomical Neuropharmacology Unit before joining the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.  She obtained a fellowship from Alzheimer’s Research UK to investigate mechanisms of neuronal dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease.  She spent a year at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School exploring synaptic degeneration in dementia before joining Nestlé Research in Lausanne, Switzerland as a Brain Health Specialist.

Portrait picture of Amy Pooler
10:10 – 10:40am
1-2-1 Meetings / Networking Break
10:40 – 10:50am
Morning Refreshments

10:50 – 11:50am

Preclinical Models with Predictability and Human Translatability- Can Porcine Models Bridge this Gap?
  • Differences in sex with regards to therapeutic development
  • Similarities of porcine skin, innervation and vascularization to humans
  • Shortcomings of rodent models and the impact on success in CNS drug development
  • Cost as a factor in choice of porcine models

Chief Scientific Officer
MD Biosciences

Sigal Meilin, PhD, is a graduate of Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv, Israel. Prior to taking the helm as Chief Scientific Officer of MD Biosciences Innovalora, Ltd. in 2004, Sigal headed the preclinical program at an early-stage company. At MD Biosciences, Sigal established the full preclinical research program with well-known as well as novel rodent models. The research capabilities were expanded with new insight and understanding, eventually encompassing all aspects of in vitro testing, cell-based assays and electrophysiology. In vivo research capabilities were augmented with porcine models which have proven to be a new standard and milestone in translational development. As Chief Scientific Officer, Sigal Meilin has the privilege of seeing many novel therapeutic classes, many different pathways and administration routes, giving a unique perspective on development trends, successes and failures.

Sigal Photo
11:50am – 12:50pm
Networking Lunch
12:50 – 1:20pm

1-2-1 Meetings / Networking Break

1:25 – 2:25pm

Triaging Your Drug Targets to Find the Most Relevant Lead

  • How to triage potential targets based on the most validated human biology and genetics evidence
  • Explore the different approaches to defining standards for excluding drug targets
  • Explore how community research experience and confidence in novel targets can de-risk development
  • Discuss the risks of a research community-based approach to investigating new targets

President & Chief Executive Office
Origami Therapeutics

Beth Hoffman, Ph.D. is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer at Origami Therapeutics where she is creating a new approach to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Prior to Origami, Beth was the Vice President, Discovery Biology for Vertex Pharmaceuticals where she made significant contributions to the launch of first-in-class drugs for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) that created a paradigm shift in the treatment of CF by focusing on the underlying cause of the disease to modulate protein folding and conformation. Prior to Vertex, Beth was a Research & Development executive at Amgen and Eli Lilly.  She has led and overseen programs from target identification to Phase II proof-of-concept, with major contributions to 30 assets that have advanced to the clinic in CF, neurology, pain and psychiatry. 

Beth serves on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Chapter of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA). She received an A.B. in Molecular Biology from Wellesley College, a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the Johns Hopkins University and was Chief of the Molecular Pharmacology Unit at the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD. 

Portrait picture of Beth Hoffman
2:30 – 3:00pm
1-2-1 Meetings / Networking Break
3:00 – 3:10pm
Afternoon Refreshments
3:10 – 3:40pm
1-2-1 Meetings / Networking Break

3:45 – 4:45pm

Neuroinflammation- Identifying Biomarkers and Drug Targets

  • Weighing up the evidence- is neuroinflammation cause of neurodegeneration or the symptoms?
  • What are biomarkers faithfully recapitulate the CNS state and are easy to measure in the patient?
  • What characteristics should biomarkers have to allow for accurate disease state tracking in patients?
  • Discuss the current developments of drug targets for neuroinflammation
  • How to effectively use biomarkers for patient identification, patient subgroups characterization and patient stratification?

Vice President, Translational Medicine and Nonclinical Development

Dr Morimoto has nearly 25 years of industry experience in leading project teams in the development of innovative medicines, providing guidance in the design and execution of preclinical, clinical and regulatory strategies with a therapeutic focus in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and frontotemporal dementias.  Previously, Bruce held leadership roles at Alkahest, Celerion and Allon Therapeutics, and works closely with the Michael J Fox Foundation, chairing one of their scientific review panels.  He is an advisor to several biotech companies, contract research and conference organizations.


Bruce started his career on the faculty in the Chemistry Department at Purdue University where his independent research focused on neuronal signal transduction.  Bruce earned his doctorate in biochemistry from UCLA and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California Berkeley. 

4:45 – 6:00pm
Closing Address/ Canape/ Drinks Reception


CNS Therapeutics Xchange | West Coast 2021