Santiago Vázquez

Santiago Vázquez

Santiago Vázquez is a Full Professor in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry in the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Chemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences o the University of Barcelona (UB). He is also a founder member of the Institute of Biomedicine of the Universitat de Barcelona (IBUB). He has over 25 years of experience working on organic and medicinal chemistry, with focus on the synthesis of new compounds with potential biological activity. After his PhD in the UB (1996, PhD Extraordinary Prize of the UB), he spent two years (1998-2000) at the University College London working as a Marie Curie Research Fellow of the European Union within the group of Prof. William B. Motherwell. He returned to Barcelona in 2000 as Assistant Professor, he was “Investigador Ramón y Cajal” for four years and was later promoted to Associate Professor in 2005. So far he has supervised 13 PhD Thesis, and several MSc Research projects.

After working several years in pure organic chemistry -novel synthetic methodology, chemistry of polycyclic hydrocarbons-, more recently his research has focused on the synthesis of novel channel blockers -human NMDA and P2X7, M2 channel of the influenza virus- and novel enzyme inhibitors, including 11b-HSD1 inhibitors and soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors. For his medicinal chemistry programs he has established successful collaborations with several biological and computational groups.

He has participated as PI in several research projects from public funding agencies and in several research contracts with Spanish and international chemical and pharmaceutical companies. He is co-inventor in several patent and patent applications both in new chemical entities with biological activity and in the new processes for the manufacturing of generic active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).

His teaching activities have been mainly focused on topics related to Medicinal Chemistry and Synthesis of Drugs, being the coauthor of some textbooks on these topics.

Our research revolves around the design, synthesis and characterization of new polycyclic compounds of therapeutic interest. The biological activity of these compounds is evaluated by several collaborators with expertise in each specific biological target (see “research” and “collaborations”).

Within our group, a particular emphasis is placed on providing our PhD students with outstanding training not only in experimental research but also in teaching, scientific writing, communication and social skills, etc. Four former PhD students were awarded the “Extraordinary Price for PhD of the Universitat de Barcelona” and two of them were subsequently funded by the prestigious “Marie Curie Fellowship”. We are proud of the prominent positions that the former members of our group currently hold in private chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

Team

Dr. Eugènia Pujol
Assistant Professor

Dr. Andreea L. Turcu
Assistant Professor

Dr.  Sandra Codony
Assistant Professor

Dr.  Carla Barbaraci
Postdoctoral Researcher

Beatrice Jora
PhD Student

Juan Martín
PhD Student

Celia Escriche
Master Student

 

In memoriam     Dr. Oscar Lozano
                               Assistant Professor

Dr. Eugènia Pujol 

is an Assistant Professor at Vázquez’s group. As an undergraduate, after finishing her Degree in Pharmacy in July 2015, she gained work experience in the R&D Department of Almirall S.L. thanks to a four-month trainee program in its Medicinal Chemistry Department. Afterwards, she completed an official postgraduate study in pharmaceutical sciences, in which she carried out synthetic work by joining Vázquez’s laboratory. In October 2016 she enrolled the PhD program and she has recently (2021) received her PhD by the University of Barcelona. Her project consisted of the design and synthesis of urea-based compounds with a broad range of therapeutic applications and, especially, the discovery of novel soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors as potential treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. As part of her PhD, she has also done a five-month research placement within Prof. Knapp’s research group (Institute of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main), where she gained insight into the rational design of selective inhibitors as chemical probes. Finally, she has complemented her scientific background with business knowledge, thanks to the participation in several entrepreneurship programs and courses in intellectual property.

 

Dr. Andreea L. Turcu

is an Assistant Professor. She joined our group in 2013 as an undergraduated, doing synthetic work in organic and medicinal chemistry. After finishing her degree in Pharmacy (University of Barcelona, 2015), she started her PhD in 2016 and successfully completed it in 2021, under the supervision of Prof. Santiago Vázquez and Prof. David Soto (Faculty of Medicine, UB) working in a multidisciplinary project. She is currently working within the group in the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of novel compounds with activity in targets of interest for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, influenza virus and coronavirus. As part of her PhD, she had the opportunity to be part of Dr. Raphael Rodriguez’s group (Institut Curie, Paris), working for 3 months on the synthesis and pharmacological evaluation of DMT1 blockers, as a new perspective for cancer therapy. Furthermore, she collaborated with several pharmaceutical companies being in charge of the identification, determination and synthesis of impurities in drugs. Therefore, she has expertise in a broad range of experimental topics, encompassing organic synthesis, electrophysiology (Patch Clamp Whole Cells) and IC50 determination in cell cultures.

 

Dr. Sandra Codony

Dr. Sandra Codony is an Assistant Professor who has joined Dr. Carles Galdeano’s and Dr. Diego Muñoz-Torrero’s groups in collaboration with the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO). After obtaining her degree in Pharmacy at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences at University of Barcelona in 2015, she started her PhD studies in Medicinal Chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Santiago Vázquez (2015 – 2020), working on a multidisciplinary project focused on the design, synthesis and evaluation of new soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) inhibitors with potential biological activity, and their applications in different inflammatory diseases. As a part of her PhD, she spent three months conducting research at the Institute of Cancer Research in London under the supervision of Dr. Swen Hoelder.

 

Dr. Carla Barbaraci

is a Postdoctoral researcher who recently joined Vázquez’s group. After finishing her degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at the University of Catania in 2015, she obtained a  second-level Professional Master’s Program in Drug Design and Development at the University of Pavia. During this period, she did also a 6 months Erasmus+ placement at the University of Barcelona within the Dr.  Muñoz-Torrero’s research group. Afterwards, she completed an official postgraduate study in pharmaceutical sciences, in which she carried out synthetic work under the supervision of Prof. Pelayo Camps at the University of Barcelona. In 2018 she started and recently received (June 2021) her PhD in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the University of Catania under the supervision of Prof. Agostino Marrazzo. Her project involved the design, synthesis  and biological evaluation of Sigma-HDAC hybrids as potential therapeutic treatment for uveal melanoma. As part of her PhD, she spent 6 month within the group of Prof. Pedro Merino at the University of Zaragoza and 6 month working on pharmacological evaluation of small molecules on tumor cells in a target discovery biotech company.

 

Beatrice Jora

is graduated in Chemistry and with a Master Degree in Organic Chemistry from the University of Barcelona. With an extended previous background in a chemical company, she decided to grow up and widen her knowledge in medical chemistry and started her PhD in our group in January 2019. The topic of her PhD is the discovery and optimization of new routes of synthesis of active principal ingredients in collaboration with pharma industry.

 

 

 

Juan Martín

was born in Malaga in 1991. He studied Chemistry at the Universidad de Granada where he graduated in 2014. Later, he obtained a Master Degree in Pharmacology from the Universidad del País Vasco in 2015. After finishing his studies, he started working in the industry where he developed Polymer chemistry and Organic chemistry in different companies. After 4 years’ experience, he has recently started his PhD in the Universidad de Barcelona where he is working on the design and synthesis of new soluble epoxidase hydrolase inhibitors, in the Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Santi Vázquez.

 

Celia Escriche

is a Chemistry graduate of University of Barcelona. She’s currently coursing a Master’s degree in Organic Chemistry. As an undergraduate student, she has worked in the Research Unit on Stereoselective Synthesis of natural products at University of Barcelona, working under the supervision of Dr. Fèlix Urpí.

In February 2022, she joined the group of Dr. Santiago Vazquez as a master student.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Oscar Lozano 

Óscar studied Biology (BSc 1997) and Pharmacy (BSc 2002) at the University of Barcelona. Later on, he carried out a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. J. Bosch, M. Amat and Dr. C. Escolano regarding total synthesis of natural products (UB, 2007). After a short postdoctoral stay in the group of Prof. J. Cossy (ESPCI, Paris, 2007) he worked in the group of Prof. V. Gouverneur (University of Oxford) for more than five years. After returning to Barcelona in 2013, he worked in different pharmaceutical and chemical companies. In July 2017, he joined BioPharma Synergies as a senior researcher, a position that he shared with a part-time Assistant Professor within our group until his untimely death in November 2021. We will always remember him as an outstanding chemist, an excellent mentor, and a wonderful friend.

 

Novel P2X7 receptor antagonists.

P2X7 receptor antagonists are of interest in inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. In collaboration with Prof. Yong-Chul Kim (Gwangju Institute of…

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Design, synthesis and evaluation of novel soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) inhibitors for inflammatory diseases.

This is a more recent topic within our group. We have recently discovered that the lipophilic cavity of the sEH…

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Synthesis, Characterization and HPLC Analysis of the (1 S,2 S,5 R)-Diastereomer and the Enantiomer of the Clinical Candidate AR-15512

Rodríguez-Arévalo S, Pujol E, Abás S, Galdeano C, Escolano C, Vázquez S. Molecules. 2021, 26, 906. doi: 10.3390/molecules26040906. AR-15512 (formerly…

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From the Design to the In Vivo Evaluation of Benzohomoadamantane-Derived Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibitors for the Treatment of Acute Pancreatitis

Codony S, Calvó-Tusell C, Valverde E, Osuna S, Morisseau C, Loza MI, Brea J, Pérez C, Rodríguez-Franco MI, Pizarro-Delgado J,…

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Inhibition of Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Ameliorates Phenotype and Cognitive Abilities in a Murine Model of Niemann Pick Type C Disease

Griñán-Ferré C, Companys-Alemany J, Jarné-Ferrer J, Codony S, González-Castillo C, Ortuño-Sahagún D, Vilageliu L, Grinberg D, Vázquez S, Pallàs M.…

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Selected Projects

I have been involved in more than 40 research projects, funded either from public calls or from private chemical and pharmaceutical companies. It follows a list of the research from the last six  years (2015-2021).

Participation in funded R+D+I projects from public calls

Exploración de nuevas dianas y estrategias multidiana para el diseño de compuestos contra enfermedades infecciosas y prevalentes
Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad
SAF2014-57094-R, 180.000,00 €
01/01/2015 – 31/12/2017

Drugs for inflammatory & cardiovascular disorders. Fase 1. CI15-00020.
Fundació Caixa de Pensions ‘La Caixa’6.000,00 €
01/09/2015 – 31/01/2016

Drugs for inflammatory & cardiovascular disorders
Fase 2. CI15-00020.
Fundació Caixa de Pensions ‘La Caixa’ 50.000,00 €
01/02/2016 – 31/01/2017

Efficacy and safety assessment of novel soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors for the prevention and treatment of acute pancreatitis (sEHIAP)
Proof of Concept Grant European Institute of Innovation & Technology – EIT Health
HS-2016-SPAIN-04,  25.000,00 €
01/02/2016 – 30/09/2017

Synthesis of compounds with innovative mechanisms against neurodegenerative diseases
Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad
SAF2017-82771-R, 121.000,00 €
01/01/2018 – 31/12/2020

Therapeutic and prophylactic effects of soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibitors (sEHI) in acute pancreatitis (AP) and in Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)-induced AP (F2I-FVal-2017-015).
Fundació Bosch i Gimpera de la Universitat de Barcelona, 25.000,00 €
18/12/2017 – 17/12/2018

New HRI activators for the treatment of type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. CI18-00006.
Fundació Caixa de Pensions ‘La Caixa’, 100.000,00 €
03/12/2018 – 02/03/2020

Discovery of innovative drugs against viral respiratory infections (MARATO TV3 201832-30)
Fundació La Marató de TV3 199.175,00 €
01/06/2019 – 31/05/2022

Channel block and gating of NMDA receptors
National Institutes of Health (NIH) (subaward of a NIH Project of Prof. Jon W. Johnson, University of Pittsburgh, USA)
2R01GM128195-26A1, 71.376,00 USD (64.625,83 €)
01/01/2019 – 31/12/2022

A new pan-coronavirus therapeutic concept to address present and future infections: targeted degradation of the conserved 3CLpro
Fundació La Marató de TV3, 300.000,00 €

01/09/2021 – 31/08/2023

Synthesis of compounds with innovative mechanisms against neurodenegerative diseases and neuropathic pain (InnoNeurox2)
Ministerio de ciencia e innovación, 272.250,00 €
01/09/2021-31/08/2024

Tackling neuropathic pain with first-in-class dual agents. CI20-00147 (Caixaimpulse Validate)
Fundació Caixa de Pensions ‘La Caixa’, 100.000,00 €

16/12/2020 – 15/03/2022

Ca2+-Dependent block by memantine and selective inhibition of overactive NMDA
National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA), 187.580,00 USD
15/09/2020-31/05/2025

 

Participation in R+D+I Contracts of special importance with companies

Síntesi i Avaluació Farmacològica de noves molècules amb propietats antidiabètiques (SAFNAD)
CIDQO 2012, S.L. & ACC1Ó
UBAR 012688, 67.000,00 €
01/07/2014 – 30/06/2016

Consulting in organic chemistry
Menadiona, S.L.
FBG 310144, 17.563,00 €
01/01/2018 – 31/10/2019

Open Innovation Drug Discovery Program
Eli Lilly and Company
FBG 308988, 5.200,00 USD
01/12/2016 – 30/11/2017

Consulting in organic chemistry
CIDQO 2012, S.L
FBG308987, 82.616,73 €
01/06/2016 – 31/12/2017

Optimization of the route of synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients
Biopharma Synergies (BPS), S.L
FBG 309411   36.000,00 €
01/07/2017 – 14/01/2018

Optimization of the route of synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients
Biopharma Synergies (BPS), S.L
FBG 309658, 66.000,00 €
15/01/2018 – 31/12/2018

Synthesis of active pharmaceutical ingredients intermediates and intermediates
Biopharma Synergies (BPS), S.L
UBAR 18648, 36.000,00 €
01/01/2019 – 31/12/2021

Patents

In addition to our academic interests, one of the main aims of our group is to generate Intellectual Property stemming either from our research projects or from join research projects with several chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

Below there is a list of recent selected patent and patent applications by our group. Their titles give an idea of the wide range of topics of our group.

  1. Title: Analogs of adamantylureas as soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors.
    Inventors: Santiago Vázquez, Elena Valverde, Rosana Leiva, Manuel Vázquez, Sandra Codony.
    Patent application: WO2017/017048 (priority date: Jul 28, 2015).
  2. Title: New aza-tetracyclo derivatives.
    Inventors: Santiago Vázquez, Rosana Leiva, Elena Valverde.
    Patent application: WO2017/182464 (priority date: Apr 19, 2016).
  3. Title: Process for obtaining 3,14-diacetyloxymorphone from oripavine.
    Inventors: Melville Mitchell, Santiago Vázquez, Andrés E. Lukach, Oscar Lozano, Joan Castañé.
    Patent application: EP 3252055 B1 (priority date: May 31, 2016).
  4. Title: HRI activators useful for the treatment of metabolic diseases.
    Inventors: Mohammad Zarei, Manuel Vázquez, Santiago Vázquez, Rosana Leiva, Eugènia Pujol.
    Patent application: WO2018/010856 (priority date: Jul 13, 2016).
  5. Title: Polycyclic compounds soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitors
    Inventors: Sandra Codony, Carlos Galdeano, Rosana Lleiva, Andreea Turcu, Elena Valverde, Santiago Vázquez.
    Patent application: EP18382445.7 (priority date: Jun 20, 2018).
  6. Title: Multitarget compounds for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease                                                                                                                                Inventors: Diego Muñoz-Torrero, Santiago Vázquez, Catia Pont, Sandra Codony.
    Patent application: WO 2020/193448 A1 (priority date: March 8, 2019).

Collaborations

Bruce D. Hammock and Christophe Morisseau (University of California Davis, Davis, USA),
Jon W. Johnson (University of Pittsburgh, USA),
Yong-Chul Kim (Gwangju Institute of Science & Technology, Gwangju, South Korea),
Antonios Kolocouris (University of Athens, Greece),
Mabel Loza and José M. Brea (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Spain).
Javier Luque (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain),
Anna Moroni and Sabrina Gazzarrini (University of Milano, Italy),
Lieve Naesens (KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium),
David Soto (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain),
Francesc X. Sureda (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain),
Manuel Vázquez-Carrera (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain),
Jun Wang (University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA),
Scott P. Webster (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Contact

Prof. Dr. Santi Vázquez

svazquez@ub.edu
Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry
Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences
University of Barcelona & Institute of Biomedicine (IBUB)
Tel. +34 934024533

ORCID: 0000-0002-9296-6026
Scopus Author ID: 57034307500
Researcher ID:  R-3551-2016