The Evolving Role of Ion Channels in Shaping Successful Drug Discovery

Life Sciences, Drug Discovery & Development,
  • Thursday, November 19, 2020

This webinar will present the critical role of ion channels in drug discovery, and how this role is evolving. The attendees will learn about advances in ion channel biology, experimental technologies and in vitro models, new ion channel ligands, and toxicological considerations.

There are over 200 ion channels in the human body, all with a critical role to play in normal physiology. As such, they are important targets for drug therapies which modulate ion channels in critical pathways, or correct aberrant ion channel function. To date there are over 150 marketed drugs that target ion channels. Many of these drugs are anaesthetics, anti-epileptics, or are active in the cardiovascular system.

The importance of ion channels in the pharmaceutical industry is evolving. As more is learned about ion channel physiology, their targeting by drugs is becoming more diverse, to include renal and respiratory disease, inflammation, cancer, pain and depression. How the pharmaceutical industry tests and explores ion channels is also evolving with high-throughput platforms and hiPSC models.

Targeting ion channels selectively has always been challenging. New, more specific modalities including antibodies, aptamers, peptides and knotbodies are being explored too. Finally, given the importance of ion channels in normal physiology, unwanted activity at ion channels in the heart or CNS can cause serious adverse effects and should be avoided. In this respect, screening for effects on ion channels is a key, rapidly developing area of drug discovery.

Consideration of these evolving areas in ion channel drug discovery is critical to the successful development of new medicines.


Dr. Mike Morton, ApconiX Ltd

Dr. Michael Morton, Director, ApconiX Ltd

A co-founder of ApconiX, Dr. Michael Morton is an expert electrophysiologist and ion channel biologist with extensive experience gained in academia and industry. Dr Morton’s career has spanned pure research, ion channel assay development and large-scale screening of all manner of ligand- and voltage-gated ion channels. He learned his craft as a postdoctoral fellow first at Leeds and then at Yale, before joining the global ion channel initiative at AstraZeneca, where his skills were applied to drug projects. Dr Morton has a serious passion for ion channels and enjoys working with collaborators and clients alike to ensure the highest quality data are used to support better decision-making.

Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

Director and Senior level professionals from biopharmaceutical companies working within:

  • Drug Discovery
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Safety Pharmacology
  • Research

What You Will Learn

The attendees will learn about the importance of ion channels in drug discovery, and how this is evolving.

Xtalks Partner


ApconiX are experts in ion channel biology, target safety assessments and in all aspects of nonclinical programme design and delivery. ApconiX was formed by three AstraZeneca colleagues with the drive and ambition to create a world-renowned company founded on the skills and experience of a growing team with a wide range of expertise in nonclinical drug safety. The model for the pharmaceutical industry has evolved in recent years with large pharma reducing internal capability and outsourcing key skills to trusted partners. There are many more SMEs and academic groups who also need access to specialised services. ApconiX addresses all needs by providing an exceptional group of scientists to these companies, in a cost-effective and flexible way. In this way, companies work with people they trust, to make better decisions on drug safety. 

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