Talk title: Solid-State Chemistry from Lead Optimization to Product Launch with Evolving Paradigms and Modalities

Ahmad Sheikh is Senior Director, Solid State Chemistry and ACOS Senior Research Fellow at AbbVie. He has over 20 years of experience in Pharmaceutical Process Development and Commercialization across five large pharmaceutical companies, with demonstrated leadership in API solid form development and physical property optimization for oral dosage forms. Ahmad has been pivotal in the successful development and commercialization of multiple AbbVie products in recent years including Viekira, Venclexta, Mavyret, Orilissa and Upadacitinib. He has published numerous scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals, as well as book chapters. He is also an inventor on 18 patents, several of which cover launched products. Ahmad has been instrumental in the development of a strong team of solid-state chemists and material scientists at AbbVie and mentoring of many young scientists within the broader scientific community, both inside and outside of AbbVie.​

Talk title: Predicting the Crystallization Propensity of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients

Bruno C. Hancock currently leads the global pharmaceutical materials science group at Pfizer Inc.  At Pfizer, he has worked in the areas of formulation development (focused on spray-dried dispersions), powder technology, pharmaceutical materials science, drug product process development & technology transfer, and computational drug product design.  Bruno has published over one hundred-and-thirty full research papers and a dozen patents.  He was elected to Fellow status in the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists in 2004, and he has been an Editor for the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences since 2014.

Talk title: The API Form in Pharmaceutical Drug Product - Risks and Mitigation Strategies

Dr. Shawn (Xiaotian) Yin received his Ph. D. in Solid-State Chemistry from University of Waterloo, Canada. He then completed his Post Doctoral fellowship at Cornell University. Currently, Dr. Yin is a Research Fellow and the group leader of Crystallography group at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. His research interests include polymorphic form studies, pre-formulation/formulation work, API crystallization, nanomaterials for drug delivery, physical characterizations and powder X-ray diffraction applications in pharmaceutical sciences.


Dr. Yin serves as a scientific organization committee member for the Pharmaceutical Powder X-ray Diffraction Symposium. He holds the title of ICDD Fellow. Dr. Yin is also a frequent invited lecturer at international and domestic scientific conferences and workshops.

Talk title: Molecular Modeling Applications in Crystallization

Alfred Y. Lee is a Principal Scientist in the Department of Process Research & Development at Merck & Co., Inc. (USA). Prior to his current position, he was a Principal Scientist at GlaxoSmithKline plc. Dr. Lee was educated at Brooklyn Polytechnic University (BS and MS) and at the Illinois Institute of Technology (PhD). Dr. Lee’s scientific interests are in the area of crystal engineering, crystallization process development, materials characterization, crystal polymorphism, and solid-state chemistry. He has published sixteen papers and is the inventor on five US patents.  Dr. Lee is also the co-editor of the 3rd Edition of the Handbook of Industrial Crystallization.

Talk title: Solubility in the Age of a Data Lake

Mike Lovette is a Principal Engineer in Amgen’s Pivotal Drug Substance Technologies group.  Mike has worked for Amgen since June 2015.  He is responsible for crystallization process development within Amgen’s synthetic portfolio. In this role, he has developed a workflow platform that combines experimental best practices, contextualized data, and modelling to deliver a consistent development approach for all small molecule APIs and intermediates. Prior to joining Amgen, Mike spent 4 years at Eli Lilly in various roles within the Small Molecule Drug Development organization.  Mike received his PhD under the supervision of Michael Doherty at UCSB in 2011.​

Talk title: Digital design - from Molecules to Products with Solid Form Informatics

Peter Wood is a Senior Product Manager at the CCDC, UK. His PhD was in X-Ray Crystallography at the University of Edinburgh, studying organic molecular crystals at high pressure. Peter joined the CCDC in 2007 as a Research Scientist, continuing to study molecular crystals. In 2011, he was awarded the BCA/CCG Chemical Crystallography Prize for Younger Scientists for his early career research contributions in this field. His research centres around knowledge-based approaches, particularly in crystal engineering and drug development. Peter has also guided the development of key software in this area including; Mercury, ConQuest, Mogul and the CSD Python API. ​

Talk title: Modeling Support of Pharmaceutical Crystallization

Yuriy Abramov holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology at Moscow, Russia. Dr. Abramov started his career at Pfizer in 2001 as a computational chemist in Drug Discovery. This led to a computational chemistry position in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2008. He proposed multiple novel computational approaches to guide and support solid form selection and optimization. In 2019 Yuriy Abramov joined XtalPi Inc as a VP of Scientific Affairs. Dr. Abramov also holds the position of an Adjunct Professor at Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 


Talk title: Entropy and Conformational Heterogeneity in Molecular Solids

Michael Shirts is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder.  His research group studies the statistical mechanics and thermodynamics of molecular systems with complex phase behavior and under noncovalent control, including molecular crystals, self-assembled nanomaterials, and biomolecules. The group also develops new computational methods and improved open source software to better investigate these systems.

Talk title: Intelligent Cloud-Based Algorithms for Pharmaceutical Sciences

Dr. Michael Bellucci is the Director of Solid Form Design at XtalPi, Inc. where he leads a research team that develops algorithm technologies for solid form development and risk assessment. He received his Ph.D. from Boston University in theoretical and computational chemistry and he previously was a research scientist at MIT in the Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing.  As a National Science Foundation IGERT fellow, he held research positions at the Sapienza University of Rome, University College Dublin, and the New England Complex Systems Institute.  At MIT he led many research projects in collaboration with several pharmaceutical companies. His research has focused on developing novel methodologies to study processes and properties associated with molecular crystals, such as solubility, morphology, surface adsorption, polymorphic transitions, and nucleation and crystallization. He has extensive experience in molecular dynamics, quantum chemistry, free energy methods, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.​

Talk title: Restoring the Balance: Accurate Treatment of Intra- and Intermolecular Interactions in Conformational Polymorphs

Gregory Beran was born in the San Francisco Bay Area in California.  He studied chemistry at the University of California San Diego (B.S. 2000) and went on to earn a Ph.D. with Martin Head-Gordon at the University of California Berkeley (2005). After two years of postdoctoral research in Chemical Engineering with William H. Green at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he started as a faculty member at the University of California Riverside in 2007.  His research focuses on the development and application of fragment-based treatments of molecular crystals and electronic structure methods for non-covalent interactions.

Talk title: Property-Based Genetic Algorithm Optimization of Molecular Crystals for High Carrier Mobility

Noa Marom received a B.A. in Physics and a B.S. in Materials Engineering, both Cum Laude, from the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology in 2003. From 2002 to 2004 she worked as an Application Engineer in the Process Development and Control Division of Applied Materials. In 2010 she received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science. She was awarded the Shimon Reich Memorial Prize of Excellence for her thesis. She then pursued postdoctoral research at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at the University of Texas at Austin. From 2013 to 2016 she was an Assistant Professor in the Physics and Engineering Physics (PEP) Department at Tulane University. In 2016 she joined the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University as an Assistant Professor. She holds courtesy appointments in the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics. She is a member of the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute (PQI) and an affiliate of the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. She has recently received the NSF CAREER, DOE INCITE (2017,2018), and Charles E. Kaufman Young Investigator awards. In 2018 she was awarded the IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Computational Physics.

Talk title: Alchemical Free Energy Simulations with Advanced Force Fields to Predict the Structure, Stability and Solubility of Organic Crystals

Prof. Michael Schnieders earned his doctorate at Washington University in St. Louis working with Prof. Jay Ponder on the development of Poisson-Boltzmann and generalized Kirkwood continuum electrostatics for polarizable atomic multipole force fields (e.g. AMOEBA). As a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford with Profs. Vijay Pande and Axel Brunger, he developed advanced X-ray crystallography refinement algorithms. During a 2ndpostdoctoral project with Prof. Pengyu Ren at UT Austin, his crystallographic background was combined with free energy simulation algorithms to predict the structure, thermodynamic stability and solubility of organic molecules. Prof. Schnieders is currently a tenured faculty member at the U. of Iowa in the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Biochemistry.

Talk title: Going Beyond Lattice Energy Approximations in Solid Form Selection

Dr. Geoffrey Wood works in the small molecule Materials Science group within the Pharmaceutical Sciences Organization at Pfizer. Dr. Wood is responsible for developing and applying computational methodologies in order to design and deliver drug substances with optimized solid form properties. As part of this role he partners with a number of academic institutions and companies including: Xtalpi, NC State University and the CCDC. Before joining Pfizer Dr Wood worked as a Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received a PhD from the University of Sydney Australia 

Talk title: A Smorgasbord of Predictive and Analysis Tools for Crystal Structures

Sten Nilsson Lill joined AstraZeneca in 2012 and is since 2014 associate principal scientist responsible for solid state and material modelling including also method development. Sten holds a Ph.D. in computational organic chemistry from Göteborg University, Sweden from 2001. He has a vast postdoc and academic experience:

Friedrich-Schiller-Universität, Jena, Germany 2002-2003

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, USA 2004

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, 2005-2006

Stockholm University, Sweden, 2006-2008

Lecturer/Researcher, University of Gothenburg & AstraZeneca Södertälje, Sweden 2008-2012

AstraZeneca Mölndal, Sweden 2012-2014

Associate principal scientist, AstraZeneca Gothenburg, 2014 – present

He has authored 47 peer reviewed publications and 2 book chapters.

Talk title: Inconvenient Truths about Solid Form Landscapes

Susan M. Reutzel-Edens is a Senior Research Advisor in Small Molecule Design & Development at Eli Lilly and Company. She obtained her B.S. degree in chemistry from Winona State University (1987), then earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Minnesota (1991) under the direction of the late Professor Margaret C. Etter. She founded the solid form design program at Eli Lilly and for two decades led a team of cross-functional scientists charged with finding commercially-viable crystalline forms for small-molecule drug products. In this capacity, she has contributed to the development of more than 150 compounds, publishing and presenting her work on key aspects of solid form development, including 1) crystal polymorphism, 2) crystal engineering and materials design, 3) crystal nucleation and growth of small-molecule drug polymorphs and solvates, 4) structure-property relationships in pharmaceutical solids, 5) crystal structure prediction as a complement to experimental solid-state form screening and 6) digital design of drug products.  Susan has published over 50 papers and book chapters and is a named inventor on 12 US patents. She was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2018, and currently serves as a topic editor for Crystal Growth and Design, and member of both the Editorial Advisory Board of Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciencesand the Scientific Advisory Board of the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre. In her current role, she provides strategic oversight of science and technology innovation with a focus on digital product design within the Small Molecule Design & Development organization.

Talk title: A Case Study of Successful Polymorph Prediction of a Salt Form 

Dr. Jane Li is Vice President of Material Science at Pharmaron, Beijing, China since May of 2017. She obtained her PhD in Pharmaceutics from University of Minnesota, and has over 25 years’ experience in pharmaceutical R&D including 10 years at Boehringer Ingelheim promoted to a Distinguished Research Fellow and 10 years at Pfizer Global Research and Development.  Her research interests include solid-state chemistry, molecular modeling, pharmaceutical development, and crystal engineering. In the past two years, Material Science at Pharmaron has experienced rapid growth in business and become a preferred partner with many clients worldwide.   

Talk title: A Machine Learning Approach for Pharmaceutical Solvate Prediction

Dongyue Xin received his BS in chemistry from Shandong University (2010) and PhD in chemistry from Texas A&M University (2016). He joined BI (Boehringer Ingelheim) in 2016 and is currently a principle scientist. His expertise covers organic chemistry, NMR spectroscopy and computational chemistry. He is interested in developing new interdisciplinary technologies applicable to drug development. 

Talk title: Discover the Ultimate Solution in the Dark Space: How Can AI Help Us

Lipeng has a scientific background in mathematics and physics. As XtalPi’s co-founder, he is currently leading the company’s AI research and application team, i.e., XtalPi AI Research Center (XARC). This center focuses on applying AI and other cutting-edge technologies to drug discovery and development. It has made several successful cases and has established close collaborations with companies and research institutes worldwide.

Lipeng received his double B.S. degree in physics and mathematics from Peking University and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago. He worked as a post-doc (SUTD- MIT Graduate Fellow) at MIT.

Talk title: Prediction of Physical Properties and Safety of Chemicals and Materials: Methods and Applications 

Alexander Tropsha, Ph.D. is K.H. Lee Distinguished Professor and Associate Dean for Pharmacoinformatics and Data Science at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy (recently ranked #1 in the country by US News & World Report), UNC-Chapel Hill.  Prof. Tropsha obtained Ph.D. in Chemical Enzymology in 1986 from Moscow State University, Russia and came to UNC-Chapel Hill in 1989 as a postdoctoral fellow. He joined the School of Pharmacy in 1991 as an Assistant Professor and became a full professor in 2002. His research interests are in the areas of Computer-Assisted Drug Design, Computational Toxicology, Cheminformatics, (Nano)Materials Informatics, and Structural Bioinformatics.  His has authored or co-authored more than 230 peer-reviewed research papers, reviews, and book chapters and co-edited two monographs. He is an Associate Editor of the ACS Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling.  His research has been supported by multiple grants from the NIH, NSF, EPA, DOD, foundations, and private companies. 

Talk title: Approaching Coupled Cluster Accuracy with a General-Purpose Neural Network Potential

Olexandr Isayev is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2008, Olexandr received his Ph.D. in computational chemistry. He was Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Case Western Reserve University and a scientist at the government research lab. During 2016-2019 he was a faculty at UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Olexandr received “Emerging Technology Award” from the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the GPU computing award from NVIDIA. The research in his lab focuses on connecting artificial intelligence (AI) with chemical sciences. 

Talk title: Using AI in Solid-Form Patent Strategies – Challenges and Opportunities

Eyal has over two decades of experience as a patent lawyer. Prior to starting Barash Law in 2009, he was chief patent counsel to SSCI, the world’s leader in solid-state chemistry. Before working for SSCI, Eyal practiced patent prosecution, litigation, and client counseling at a large intellectual property law firm in Washington, D.C. Eyal attended Indiana University where received undergraduate degrees in chemistry and history before making his way to California where he obtained a masters degree in physical chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. His research at UC Berkeley was focused mainly on solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.  Eyal returned to the Midwest to attend Northwestern University where he obtained his law degree. Eyal enjoys working with entrepreneurs and scientists and lectures frequently on how intellectual property, especially in the pharmaceutical arts, can be a business driver.  Eyal and his wife Gabrielle have four children and are heavily involved in the local community and school activities.

Talk title: On the Challenges and Opportunities of Conducting Research in the Cloud

Patrick Combes joined Amazon Web Services in April 2016 and is responsible for AWS’ worldwide technical strategy in Healthcare and Life Sciences (HCLS). Patrick helps develop and implement the strategic plan to engage customers and partners in the industry and leads the community of technically focused HCLS specialists within AWS.

Patrick began his career in scientific computing at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL) where he developed on embedded systems for gathering and processing instrumentation data in real-time. Later, Patrick joined Cray Research where he was responsible for kernel development, OS integration and the programming environment of the Red Storm/XT3/XT4 and Cascade platforms. He joined Rosetta Biosoftware (Merck) in 2005 to build and integrate products for genomics and proteomics into HPC environments and was responsible for many professional service engagements globally while in this capacity. Rosetta Biosoftware was acquired by Microsoft in 2009 and Patrick continued his work as part of the Amalga Life Science Platform within the Health Solutions Group (HSG) at Microsoft. Patrick then leads the industry solution architecture team for EMC as the Principal SA for Life Sciences and HPC.

Patrick has a B.S. in Computer & Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with additional graduate work focused on programming language design. He also holds several associate and professional certifications for architecting on AWS.

Le Méridien

Boston Cambridge

20 Sidney Street,

Cambridge, MA 02139 USA


© 2019 by XtalPi Inc., Rational Solid Form Design Summit