AION Labs, In Continued Partnership with BioMed X, Launches First 2024 Global Call for Applications: AI/ML Platform for Targeting RNA with Small Molecules

  • Israel-Based Venture Studio Comprising AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, Israel Biotech Fund, Amiti Ventures and Amazon Web Services (AWS) Seeks Global Research and Technology Talent to Form New Startup Focused on: “AI/ML Platform for Targeting RNA with Small Molecules

REHOVOT, Israel and HEIDELBERG, Germany, February 20, 2024. AION Labs, the first-of-its-kind venture studio spearheading the adoption of AI technologies and computational science to solve therapeutic challenges, and German independent research institute BioMed X, announced today the launch of its latest global call for applications to identify computational biologists, biomedical scientists and inventors to form a new startup at AION Labs’ headquarters in Rehovot, Israel.

AION Labs’ next startup will focus on the development of an AI/ML computational platform to identify functional regions in RNA that can be targeted with small molecules. RNA has traditionally been deemed unsuitable for small molecule binding. However, recent developments have shown that RNA levels can be modulated using small molecules, which has resulted in several candidate drugs currently in clinical trials.

RNA targeting is an emerging field and small molecule discovery of RNA modulators remains a significant challenge. It is however an area of huge potential where computational approaches are starting to deliver impact. The platform being developed will include the ranking of the most druggable regions along any given coding or non-coding RNA sequence, a prediction of the functional and off-target effects upon binding, and recommendations of small molecule hits to be used as starting points for further chemistry optimization.

“The ability to successfully target RNA with small molecules holds tremendous potential. By targeting the template RNA that encodes a protein, small molecules can be used to modulate disease proteins that were previously considered undruggable, while the druggable space can be expanded to include the vast world of non-protein coding and non-coding RNA,” said Dr. Yair Benita, CTO of AION Labs. “We are excited to welcome the next cohort of applicants and look forward to working closely with the chosen startup to continue solving the toughest pharmaceutical R&D challenges.”

AION Labs is inviting global computational biologists, bioinformatics scientists, AI and machine learning professionals, and experts in RNA biology and structure to propose the development of an RNA-specific computational platform to facilitate the rational design of RNA-targeting drugs. The technology developed will be evaluated using a selected RNA target as a proof-of-concept. Original ideas that surpass the current state-of-the-art are particularly encouraged.

As part of the online application procedure, interested candidates are requested to submit an initial project proposal via the BioMed X Career Space at before April 11, 2024. Further details about this call for applications can be found on the AION Labs website:

About AION Labs
AION Labs is a first-of-its-kind venture studio comprising AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, the Israel Biotech Fund, Amiti Ventures, and Amazon Web Services (AWS), powered by BioMed X with the support of the Israeli Government via the Israel Innovation Authority, that have come together with one clear mission: to create and adopt groundbreaking new AI technologies that will transform the process of drug discovery and development in order to contribute to the health and well-being of all people world-wide.

AION Labs is a unique venture hub where brilliant innovators and scientist-founders convene from around the world to solve the biggest R&D challenges guided by years of accumulated know-how, data and experience in pharma. The lab leverages its partners’ wealth of knowledge and a new multidisciplinary mindset with the ingenuity, agility and innovative power of Israel’s start-up ecosystem, to develop strong companies with clear long-term strategies, that will pave the way to the future of healthcare. AION Labs cultivates innovation from within; its unique venture creation process bridges the gap between outstanding academic research in the field of AI and the biggest R&D needs in the discovery and development of new medicines for the benefit of patients.

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FINN Partners for AION Labs
Danny Sudwarts
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