At the XIII International Roundtable on "Nucleosides, Nucleotides and their Biological Applications" (XIII IRT), held on September 1998 in Montpellier, France, Dr. G. Gosselin (one of the two local chairmen), Prof. J.-L. Imbach and Prof. L. B. Townsend (the two "fathers" of the IRTs) gathered a group of fifteen prominent scientists in the area together. J.-L. Imbach and L. B. Townsend made clear their desire that the IRTs be continued, but that the control of the IRTs should become the responsibility of a new Society formed for that purpose.
As a result of this meeting, a small group of senior scientists, Drs. P. Dan Cook, Gilles Gosselin, Piet Herdewijn, Akira Matsuda, and Jack Secrist, was selected from among the attendees and charged with the task of founding a new Society. This new Society would not only take over the operation of the next IRTs, but would also bring together people interested in each aspect of research related to nucleosides, nucleotides, oligonucleotides and nucleic acids.
By the time of the XIV IRT held on September 2000 in San Francisco, by-laws had been developed, and a nomination committee had polled scientists around the world in setting a slate of candidates to inaugurate the activities of the new Society, called the International Society for Nucleosides, Nucleotides, and Nucleic Acids (IS3NA).