Drugs: Applications

Exploring Drug Discovery and Development through the Lens of AI Technology Enabling Innovation

Moderator: Christopher Locher, PhD, Founder & CEO, Versatope Therapeutics
Sean Ekins, PhD, Founder & CEO, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals
David Harel, MBA, Co-Founder & President, CytoReason
Laura Towart, Founder & CEO, MyPersonalTherapeutics
Jonathan Ward, MBA, Co-Founder & CEO, Genome Biologics 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has had a singular impact on most, if not all, areas of drug discovery and development, from information and understanding the mechanisms of the target disease to finding new biomarkers and creating new data models. AI is enhancing therapeutic innovation through repurposing existing drugs to finding new drug candidates, as well as validating and optimizing drug candidates. This panel will explore advanced applications of AI on drug discovery and development, and what today’s innovation means for tomorrow’s diseases.

Panelist Bios

Sean Ekins, PhD, Founder & CEO, Collaborations Pharmaceuticals
Sean is founder and CEO of Collaborations Pharmaceuticals, Inc. which is focused on using machine learning approaches for rare and neglected disease drug discovery. Sean graduated from the University of Aberdeen; receiving his MSc, PhD in Clinical Pharmacology and DSc in Science. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Lilly Research Laboratories, before working as a senior scientist at Pfizer and then Eli Lilly. He went on to join several startup companies at increasingly senior levels. Since 2005 he has been awarded over 20 NIH and DOD grants (STTR/SBIR grants, R21, UH2, and R01) as well as performing as a consultant on many others. He has authored or co-authored >300 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, edited 5 books on different aspects of drug discovery research, and using computational approaches. He has a passion for finding new collaborators and developing new treatments for neglected and rare diseases.

David Harel, Co-Founder & President, CytoReason
David Harel is on a mission to improve patient outcomes and economics using data. He co-founded CytoReason in 2016 with the goal of leveraging new technology to address the increasing costs and complexity of bringing new therapies to the market. CytoReason’s models are being used today by the largest pharma companies for drug discovery and development. David spent the first part of his career in private equity, focusing on strategy and financing of growth companies in industrial and Healthcare IT markets. David holds an undergraduate degree from Haifa University and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon.

Christopher Locher, PhD, Founder & CEO, Versatope Therapeutics (Moderator)
Dr. Locher is the CEO and Co-Founder and has over 15 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience developing new vaccines and therapeutics for multiple diseases. Prior to Versatope, he was a Senior Director at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Boston where he held leadership and management roles in large infectious disease R&D programs and international collaborations.

Laura Towart, Founder & CEO, MyPersonalTherapeutics
Laura founded My Personal Therapeutics to advance a groundbreaking personalised approach to cancer developed at Mt Sinai Medical Center. Laura is also the founder & former CEO of Celmatix, a leader in genomics and pharma target generation of women’s health. Laura became passionate about personalised medicine during her PhD studies at Weill Cornell Graduate School for Medical Sciences/Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Since then she has been actively involved in translational advances in medicine.

Jonathan Ward, Co-Founder & CEO, Genome Biologics
Jonathan Ward is the Co-founder & CEO of Genome Biologics, based in Frankfurt Germany and a resident company of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS@BE. Genome Biologics identifies RNAi therapeutic targets and pipeline drugs and repositions EMA/FDA approved compounds for Cardiovascular and Cardiometabolic Diseases. Capitalising on the power of our patented Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven preclinical multi-modality drug testing technology, we leverage the power of AI-based machine learning with transformative patient-derived tissue screens and in vitro and in vivo transgenesis to dramatically reduce the cost, time and inefficiencies of preclinical research and bring treatments faster to patients. Jonathan has more than 20 years’ experience in preclinical R&D and toxicology. Jonathan has worked across Europe and Asia, and has held multiple leadership positions, including as HOD at A*STAR Singapore, COO at PWG Genetics Singapore / Korea, Head of Bioresearch at Philip Morris International and more recently as Head of Scientific Administration at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. In the course of his career, he led research programmes in multiple therapeutic areas, including next generation products, managed large research facilities and established partnerships for technology development with multiple pharma / biotech companies and CRO’s. Jonathan is a stakeholder of The European Quality In Preclinical Data (EQIPD) group, a member of the Royal Society of Biology and the co-founder of Genome Biologics