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news Nov 30, 2015

BenevolentAI, the pioneering London-based company using artificial intelligence to advance pharmaceutical development, appoints head of BBSRC as new Chief Executive

London, 30 November 2015 – Jackie Hunter PhD CBE FBPharmacolS FMedSci, currently the Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), announced today that she will leave the BBSRC to become CEO of BenevolentBio, a business unit of BenevolentAI, a pioneering London-based technology company that applies artificial intelligence to transform the process of drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry. 

“I am delighted that Jackie has decided to join us,” says Ken Mulvany, Co-founder and Director of BenevolentAI. “Her considerable experience in the field of drug discovery and her talent as a leader will prove invaluable for the development of our team and the achievement of our goal to combine the talents of the very best minds in the fields of medical research and artificial intelligence.”

With over thirty years of experience in the bioscience research field in the public and private sectors as well as academia, Hunter is one of the UK’s most respected leaders in medical innovation. At the BBSRC, she was responsible for managing one of the UK’s 7 Research Councils, that invests £500 million of Government funding to support research and infrastructure in biotechnology and bioscience. Prior to this she had a 27 year career in industry culminating in the position of Senior Vice President in charge of Neurology and Gastrointestinal drug discovery and early clinical development for GlaxoSmithKline.   

Hunter will now be responsible for leading BenevolentBio’s teams of researchers, some of whom she has previously worked with when she served as a non-executive Director of Proximagen, a UK-based company founded and headed by Mulvany which was acquired by Upsher-Smith Laboratories in 2012 for up to $555m, one of the largest European biotech exits of the decade. 

Hunter said: “BenevolentBio represents the cutting edge of medical research, through the development of innovative solutions which harness the abundance of biomedical data. The team has already shown that artificial intelligence can lead to novel drug programmes. It has notably signed an impressive multimillion-pound deal with a major pharmaceutical company around two novel targets identified by our technology for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and it is backed by some of the country’s leading investors including Neil Woodford of Woodford Investment Management. I am therefore extremely confident that BenevolentAI will deliver new important medicines that will, ultimately, make a difference for patients.”