Welcome to the ECBS 2023 / May 9-11 2023 / Gothenburg, Sweden

The inaugural ELRIG meeting on Therapeutic OLIGOs combined with the 8th European Chemical Biology Symposium (ECBS) will be held on May 9-11 at the beautiful AstraZeneca R&D site in Gothenburg. This interactive 3-day event will host leading scientists from academia, industry and the vendor community to discuss recent advancements in the discovery of therapeutic OLIGOs and in the Chemical Biology research field in Europe and internationally. The ECBS part of the meeting is co-organized by EU-OPENSCREEN and the EuChemS Division of Chemistry in Life Sciences, and includes contributions from key academic chemical biology research groups in Europe. Our ambition is to create an open access meeting and an inspiring environment for networking between biologists and chemists to fuel cross-fertilisation between research areas.

OLIGOs such as ASOs, siRNAs and other mRNA-targeted therapeutics are impacting patients daily. To further expand the scope of these drug modalities the field is exploring new ways to formulate and distribute the cargo to improve the reach of additional disease-relevant tissue. Efforts include various ways of targeting the delivery, for example by conjugating the cargo to functional groups that interact with specific cell types. This is one area in which developments interplay with the field of chemical biology, where the aim is to exploit chemistry for the purpose of understanding and manipulating biology. With the recent announcement of the latest Nobel Prize in Chemistry for bio-orthogonal chemistry and click chemistry, there is more reason than ever to discuss the next advancements that will impact our understanding of and man-made changes to biology.


The ECBS 2023 meeting will explore the opportunities and challenges in the discovery of therapeutic OLIGOs and the Chemical Biology research field in six focus areas:

Therapeutic OLIGO profiling

The starting session will focus on the biological profiling of treatment response to oligonucleotides and the underlying characterisation of cellular model systems to achieve this in a rational manner. This includes the application of different techniques for understanding molecular mechanisms behind mRNA modulation and changes to their levels using e.g. RNA sequencing approaches to understand safety aspects. We will also explore novel developments in spatially resolved biology to understand the sequence of events from endosomal uptake, release and delivery to site of action.

Advancements in OLIGO design and synthesis

Short modified oligonucleotides such as ASOs are successfully used as gene-targeted drugs, developments that were made possible by chemistry advancements to improve in vivo stability and specificity, while reducing toxicity. There is currently a strong focus on improving productive uptake in physiologically relevant tissue, where the chemical matter is at interplay with the packaging of the cargo in novel formulations.

Novel formulations and biomarker analysis

Delivery of therapeutic OLIGOs to the intended target tissue is critically important for expanding their clinical utilities. Targeted delivery can be achieved by incorporation of functional groups with the cargo, or alternatively through functionalization of the carrier moieties such as nanoparticles. Understanding successful delivery is intimately linked to the availability of suitable biomarkers of response, the relationships of which will be explored in this session.

New ways to shape and interrogate biology through chemistry

The concept of using chemistry to interrogate biology is fundamental to the chemical biology community. We are now going beyond this goal, with efforts to create new biology, for example by the introduction of non-naturally occurring building blocks. In this session we will explore this line of thinking and potential future applications.

Chemical probe-induced protein interaction and degradation

The available toolbox of chemical probes and drugs has recently expanded to include a plethora of approaches for achieving targeted protein degradation. The fundamental science driving this exciting new field is the generation of molecules capable of modulating or engineering new protein-protein interactions, which subsequently exploit the ubiquitin-proteasomal system or other protein degradation pathways. In this session we will explore technologies that are critical for in-depth studies of these interactions.

Innovative tools and methods for advanced cell profiling

The future of life science research sits with our ability to fully embrace big data, which is increasingly used for better understanding treatment responses but also for better characterising  cellular model systems. Here we will explore the future of compound-induced fingerprinting, where details on the model system become an integral part of this interpretation.

The official ELRIG-ECBS2023 programme can be found here.

Learn more on the official ELRIG-ECBS2023 website here.