Today marks my first official day as Group CEO at BenevolentAI. For me, it is the next step of a journey, one that has encompassed amazing experiences building some of the biggest technology brands on the planet. Yet none of them had the same potential to transform our lives for the better as we have here at BenevolentAI.
Dear Benevolent Team, we have come a long way from our earliest ideas about how AI would transform pharmaceutical development in 2013 to our recent announcement of our $115m funding round - one of the largest equity investments in the rapidly emerging AI pharmaceutical sector. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved and of the inspiring talented team of people that have made it happen.
The beginning of the year has been incredibly busy here at BenevolentAI - I am sure over the coming weeks and months you'll be hearing more on this - it is an incredibly exciting time. Despite the frenetic activity I try to make the effort to read around new and interesting publications in the digital healthcare space.
Ian Churcher, VP Drug Discovery recently published a paper in Nature to highlight how organic synthesis could represent an opportunity for the pharmaceuticals industries to improve drug development. He presents the current challenges that the industry needs overcome and explains how new technologies and industry-academia collaborations are essential to progress.
There is an increasing number of varieties of drug agents in clinical use ranging from antibodies and proteins to nucleic acids and, increasingly, cellular and genetic therapies but the majority of drugs on the market and in development today are still small, synthetic molecules made in a chemistry laboratory.
Marwin Segler, senior machine learning researcher at BenevolentAI, shows in his Nature paper how AI can transform the success rate of planning the synthesis of organic molecules – so-called retrosynthesis.
The design of small molecules with bespoke properties is of central importance to drug discovery. However significant challenges yet remain for computational methods, despite recent advances such as deep recurrent networks and reinforcement learning strategies for sequence generation, and it can be difficult to compare results across different works.
It’s now only a number of days until we announce the winner of the first BenevolentAI award on March 28th. Since applications closed in late January, the process has been one my fellow judges, Aisling Burnand, CEO of Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC), and Neil Lawrence, Director of Machine Learning of Amazon Research Cambridge and I have found enjoyable, insightful and richly rewarding.
A new view brings a new perspective… …its late February and I am sitting in our new Cambridge office looking at an unusually snowy scene of lawns and woodland.
Most scientific breakthroughs are made by analysing data, but we live in a world where the exponential growth of scientific research data makes the discovery of new drugs and treatments for disease very difficult.
Professor Jackie Hunter, CEO of BenevolentBio, writes for The Huffington Post on diversity in the AI industry and how it has the chance to embrace it or risk going the same way as many other industries.
A few months ago, some humans from UCL (presumably the Universal Canine League) came and sat near my bed-desk and started scribbling on whiteboards without so much as a second glance at the tennis ball I dropped on to their workbench. I was even told off for disturbing them while they work – the cheek of it!
Jackie Hunter explains why we need to encourage diversity in AI in a co-ordinated effort across the home, at school, at university and into the workplace.
As we all work busily in our own corners of drug discovery, be it in Pharma, biotech or academia, ask yourself the question – are you just pushing that horse a little more or are you genuinely imagining and creating the model T of the 21st century?
Initiated after the first Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Bioscience Symposium in 2016, the special interest group on AI in Biomedicine aims at stimulating debate and encouraging collaboration between experts in life science and AI.
Dear Country Cousin, Long time, no bark! Sincerest apologies – I’ve been so busy with work that I simply haven’t had the time to write. How is the sheep herding business treating you? – I imagine its been a busy time, what with lambing just gone and the sheep dog trial season kicking off in earnest shortly.
On the surface science policy may appear to be rather a dry subject, but it is fundamental to academic research and its positive knock-on effect for innovation in industry.
An increasingly large number of humans are walking through the doors at Benevolent AI HQ, fresh faced and ready to join the team
Let’s talk pharmaceutical innovation, and in doing so let’s be honest and perhaps a little controversial. Last year the CEO of Regeneron, Leonard Schleifer, stood up at the Forbes Healthcare Summit in New York and said something surprisingly candid and revealing.
People bustling madly, sleepovers at the office, and tables full of delicious pasta. This can only mean one thing – dinner time. Oh, apparently it’s because Benevolent just hosted its first ever Hackathon?
Recently we welcomed the news that we have officially selected a study name for BenevolentAI's first clinical trial.
In an age where you could soon be legally (and safely) asleep at the wheel thanks to driverless cars will morality in AI go the same way – is the principle of ethics in AI asleep at the wheel?
It’s the last week before Christmas and a good time for reflection, to pause for breath and to think about what the next year will bring.
We are developing and applying AI technology to enhance and accelerate scientific discovery by turning the world’s mass of highly fragmented scientific information into new insight and useable knowledge that ultimately benefits society.