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Medicinal Chemistry

Ding Ke Ph. D
Team Leader

Dr. Ding obtained his Ph.D. in Fudan University and Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2001 after graduating from the China Pharmaceutical University. He received his post-doctoral training in University of Michigan during 2001-2004, and then worked as a Research Investigator. In 2006, Dr. Ding joined Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences as a Senior Principal Investigator, Doctoral Supervisor and Deputy Director of Chemical Biology Institute. He was an enlisted scientist for “Hundred-Talent Program of CAS” in 2007 and an outstanding expert of the city of Guangzhou in 2008. Dr. Ding obtained the “Ding Ying Science and Technology award of Guangdong Province” in 2009. In 2010, He became one of the two Advisory Editorial Board Members of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letter in China. Dr. Ding is also the Vice Chairmen of the Medicinal Chemistry Committee of Guangdong Pharmaceutical Association, Director of Guangdong Association of Young Scientists (GDAYS) and member of Youth Federation of Chinese Academy Sciences and Guangzhou Youth Federation.

Dr. Ding’s researches mainly focuses on the discovery of small molecules targeting key functional proteins, which may be potentially developed as new drugs to treat cancer or metabolic diseases. In the U.S., he participated in the study of the broad-spectrum inhibitors of Bcl-2 family protein, of which anticancer drug (AT-101) has entered Phase III clinical development in the United States. He was also responsible for the design and synthesis of the Spirooxindole type p53-MDM2 inhibitors and isoflavones Bcl-2 family protein inhibitors, which had been licensed to Sanofi-aventis and Ascenta Therapeutic Company, respectively. After returning to the Chinese Academy of Sciences Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, he led a research team to successfully design and synthesis the arguably first ERR first agonist as new potential drug to treat metabolic disorders (which has cooperated a new company in Hongkong); the new Bcr-Abl inhibitors to overcome the clinical resistance against Gleevec. In addition, closely collaborating with biologists, he has successfully designed and synthesized subtype selective FABP4 inhibitors, Aggrecanases ADAMTS inhibitors, and small molecule STAT3 inhibitors, etc.

Dr. Ding has published more than 50 papers in JACS, JMC, PNAS, etc. and been co-inventor for more than 20 patents, part of which had successfully been licensed to some international pharmaceutical companies.

Medicinal chemistry research group specializes in the discovery and development of novel small molecule chemical entities with intellectual rights (IPRs). The research priorities of this group are to discover the drugs for the treatment of major diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, infectious diseases, and inflammation. Novel synthetic compounds are rationally designed and investigated to discover the bioactive substances, new small molecule chemical leads and new drugs, by using the state-of-art theories and technology in chemistry and biology including computer-aided drug design technology (molecular docking simulations, QSAR, pharmacophore, virtual screening, etc) and applying new synthetic methods and technology. Novel mechanism, new theories and innovative technology for drug discovery are extensively explored to achieve worldwide breakthrough in the drug discovery research field and to set up the platform for new drug development.

At this moment, the medicinal chemistry research group are carrying out 10 competitive research projects with strong links with researchers from other institutions within GIBH, and internationally. Two projects including an oral kinase inhibitor for the treatment of leukemia and an oral anti-inflammation compound for Alzheimer’s disease are preparing to apply for the registration with the sate FDA for permission to conduct phase I clinical trials in China. These two compounds both hold strong protection of intellectual property (IP) as new small molecule chemical entities.

Currently, there are 18 research personnel in the research group and all of them are under 40 years old, including 3 chief scientists (came back from USA prominent research institutions) and 15 RAs (12 obtained master’s degree). Up to July 2011, the staff members will increase to 30 in total. Through the vigorous recruiting efforts, a young and energetic group of chemists with high academic calibers form the core of medicinal chemistry research group. They are dedicated and self-motivated and made significant scientific progress receiving world-wide recognition among peers.


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