Florence Wagner, PhD
Florence Wagner is the associate director of the Center for the Development of Therapeutics (CDoT) at Broad Institute, where she is also an institute scientist. At CDoT, she is also the director of medicinal chemistry. Her group focuses on designing and implementing novel strategies for the development of novel therapeutics for cancer, psychiatric disorders, and inflammatory and metabolic disorders, as well as rare diseases. These strategies include the rational design and development of novel, potent, and highly selective small molecules suitable for drug and biomarker development. Wagner’s projects span targets from epigenetic modulators, GTPases, and kinases to G-protein coupled receptors and ion channels. Her group’s recent accomplishments include the discovery of first-in-class paralog selective inhibitors of glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3). Wagner and collaborators discovered novel applications for these compounds as potential therapeutics for various diseases of unmet medical need. Wagner also helps lead the Broad’s Drug Repurposing Hub, as well as a project aimed at MUC1 kidney disease, along with institute member Anna Greka. In addition, Wagner leads a number of academic and industrial collaborations focused on extending their therapeutic potential to new disease indications.
Wagner obtained her master’s degree from the Department of Chemistry and Process Engineering at the Lyon (France) School of Chemistry and Electronics. Her keen interest in drug discovery developed out of a yearlong internship at Scynexis, a biotech company in North Carolina. From there, she went on to North Carolina State University, where her doctoral research under the supervision of Daniel L. Comins focused on developing novel methods for the synthesis of nicotine derivatives for application in neurodegenerative disorders. Prior to joining the Broad Institute in 2008, Wagner worked for Altiris (formerly Metastatix, Inc.) in Atlanta, GA, on the discovery of chemokine receptor modulators.
Aside from her primary area of expertise in medicinal chemistry, Wagner is knowledgeable on the subjects of structural biology, pharmacology, and intellectual property strategy. She was named a member of the Chemical and Engineering News “Talented 12” in 2017, and has produced 63 peer-reviewed articles, four review articles, and 21 granted patents.