Ontario Institute of Cancer Research
Toronto ON

Gennady Poda is an expert in computational drug discovery. He is Scientific Advisor and Group Leader, Computational Chemistry and Cheminformatics, in the Drug Discovery group at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and Assistant Professor (Status) at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy.

Poda has a M.Sc. in Molecular and Chemical Physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and a PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry from the Institute for Bioorganic and Petrochemistry, National Academy of Sciences in Kiev, Ukraine. During his work at Pharmacia & Upjohn, Pfizer and OICR, he has demonstrated excellence in computer-aided drug design covering all aspects of modern computational drug discovery: structure-, ligand- and fragment-based drug discovery, chemoinformatics, medicinal chemistry, data mining and analysis, physical and ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity) property prediction, methods development and programming. He has made major contributions to late-stage pre-clinical discovery of drug leads in multiple therapeutic areas including disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), antithrombotics, CNS analgesics, inhaled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) drug candidates and COVID-19 anti-cancer agents.

At OICR, Poda has helped develop small molecule drug candidates for the treatment of haematological cancers that have attracted major investments and partnership from Johnson & Johnson Innovation ($450 million), Triphase Accelerator, and Celgene/Bristol Myers Squibb (US$1 billion). Most recently, Poda and his team received funding from the Ontario government’s COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund to identify new therapeutics and existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat COVID-19.

He is author and co-author of over 60 publications in peer-reviewed journals, three book chapters and seven patents. He was recently a recipient of the OICR Extra Mile Award and three Innovative Spirit Awards in recognition of his structure-based and cheminformatics support of several on-going projects within OICR’s Drug Discovery Program.

Selected Publications

Posternak G, Tang X, Maisonneuve P, Jin T, Lavoie H, Daou S, Orlicky S, Goullet de Rugy T, Caldwell L, Chan K, Aman A, Prakesch M, Poda G, Mader P, Wong C, Maier S, Kitaygorodsky J, Larsen B, Colwill K, Yin Zh, Ceccarelli DF, Batey RA, Taipale M, Kurinov I, Uehling D, Wrana J, Durocher D, Gingras A-C, Al-Awar R, Therrien M, Sicheri F. “Functional characterization of a PROTAC directed against BRAF mutant V600E.” Nature Chem Biol 2020;

Saraon P, Snider J, Kalaidzidis T, Wybenga-Groot LE, Weiss K, Rai A, Radulovich N, Drecun L, Vuckovic N, Vucetic A, Wong V, Theriault B, Pham N-A, Park J, Datti A, Wang J, Pathmananthan S, Aboualizadeh F, Lyakisheva A, Yao Zh, Wang Y, Aman A, Moran MF, Poda G, Marcellus R, Uehling D, Samarzija M, Jakopovic M, Tsao M, Shepherd F, Sacher A, Leighl N, Akhmatova A, Al-awar R, Zerial M, Stagljar I. “A live-cell drug discovery platform for detection of compounds targeting receptor tyrosine kinases identifies inhibitors of osimertinib-resistant EGFR triple mutant.” Nature Chem Biol 2020; 16: 577-586.

Moustakim M, Christott T, Monteiro OP, Bennett J, Giroud C, Ward J, Rogers CM, Smith P, Panagakou I, Díaz-Sáez L, Felce S, Gamble V, Gileadi C, Halidi N, Heidenreich D, Chaikuad A, Knapp S, Huber KVM, Farnie G, Heer Jag, Manevski N, Poda G, Al-Awar R, Dixon DJ, Brennan PE, Fedorov O. “Discovery of an MLLT1/3 YEATS Domain Chemical Probe.” Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 2018; 57(50): 16302-16307.

Grebien F, Vedadi M, Getlik M, Giambruno R, Grover A, Avellino R, Vittori S, Kuznetsova E, Smil D, Barsyte-Loverjoy D, Li F, Poda G, Schapira M, Wu H, Dong A, Senistera G, Schonegger A, Bilban M, Bock C, Brown PJ, Zuber J, Bennett K, Al-awar R, Delwel R, Nerlov C, Arrowsmith CH, Superti-Furga G. C/EBPa N-Terminal Leukemia is Sensitive to Pharmacological Targeting of the WDR5-MLL Interaction. Nat Chem Biol 2015; 11(8): 571-8.

Prassas I, Eissa A, Poda G, Diamandis EP. Unleashing the Therapeutic Potential of Human Kallikrein-Related Serine Peptidases. Nat Rev Drug Disc 2015; 14: 183-202.