AION Labs, In Continued Partnership with BioMed X, Launches New Global Call for Applications: Identification of Active Small Molecules for Drug Discovery

  • Israel-based alliance of AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, Israel Biotech Fund and Amazon Web Services (AWS) seeks global research and technology talent for new startup focused on: “AI-Powered Drug Discovery of New High-Affinity Small Molecules.”

REHOVOT, Israel and HEIDELBERG, Germany, May 25, 2023 – AION Labs, a first-of-its-kind innovation lab 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 AI and machine learning professionals and biomedical scientists and inventors to form a new startup at AION Labs’ headquarters in Rehovot, Israel.

AION Labs’ sixth startup will focus on the development of an AI platform capable of rapidly and accurately identifying active molecules for potential drug candidates – even in cases where the structure of the target protein and existing binding molecules are unknown – by screening for hits from a pre-defined library of small molecules and generating a short list of hits ranked by their potential binding affinity. The technology will enable accurate modeling of targets for small molecule design, accelerating the small molecule drug discovery process.

“Computational drug design software has traditionally focused on improving existing molecules with known binding structure. Recent technological advancements now offer the potential to expand the scope by enabling scenarios with limited initial data,” said Dr. Yair Benita, CTO of AION Labs. “We look forward to collaborating with top talent in developing an advanced computational solution to build on this potential and to expand the possibilities for novel drug discovery.”

Traditionally, computational drug design methods have relied on accurate models of the drug targets and active site, as well as knowledge of existing binding molecules as a starting point. However, in nearly half of the drug discovery cases, the target structure is unavailable, the active site is not well-defined, and no known binding molecules exist. This has led to time-consuming trial and error cycles in experimental screens to identify active molecules.

AION Labs is inviting startups, computational biologists, bioinformatics and proteomics scientists, molecular biologists, data scientists, and AI and machine learning professionals to propose the development of a next-generation computational platform for virtual screening of a predefined compound library, identification of multiple high-affinity hits, and a ranking of these results based on their binding affinity when the input is a target protein sequence. Original ideas that go far beyond the current state-of-the-art are being 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 July 16, 2023. Further details about this call for application can be found on the AION Labs website:

About AION Labs
AION Labs is a first-of-its-kind alliance of Astrazeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, the Israel Biotech Fund and Amazon Web Services (AWS), powered by BioMed X with the support of the Israeli Government via the Israel Innovation Authority and Digital Israel Initiative, 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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About BioMed X
BioMed X is an independent research institute located on the campus of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, with a world-wide network of partner locations. Together with our partners, we identify big biomedical research challenges and provide creative solutions by combining global crowdsourcing with local incubation of the world’s brightest early-career research talents. Each of the highly diverse research teams at BioMed X has access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure and is continuously guided by experienced mentors from academia and industry. At BioMed X, we combine the best of two worlds – academia and industry – and enable breakthrough innovation by making biomedical research more efficient, more agile, and more fun.

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Media Contact:
Raoul Wootliff
FINN Partners for AION Labs
+972 54 692 1720