AION Labs, Powered by BioMed X, Launches First Global Call for Application: Artificial Intelligence for Antibody Design

  • AION Labs, Israel-based alliance of AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, Israel Biotech Fund and Amazon Web Services (AWS), to start first global crowdsourcing initiative based on the innovation model of Germany’s BioMed X Institute
  • Call for application seeks to identify global research talent for new startup company in field of: De Novo Computational Design of Therapeutic Antibodies

REHOVOT, Israel and HEIDELBERG, Germany – October 19, 2021 – 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 the first global call for application to identify biomedical scientists and inventors to form a new startup at AION Labs’ headquarters in Rehovot, Israel.

The chosen AION Labs startup team will be sponsored by several industry-leading partners and supported by the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA). The sponsors of this call for application are AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva and the Israel Biotech Fund, with close support from Amazon Web Services (AWS).

“We are excited to extend our portfolio of career opportunities for talented academic researchers to Israel,” said Dr. Christian Tidona, Founder and Managing Director of the BioMed X Institute. “Located in the heart of the ’startup nation,’ AION Labs is the perfect place for biomedical scientists from around the globe to learn how to become successful biotech entrepreneurs.”

Therapeutic antibodies are well established life-saving drugs. Discovery of existing therapeutic antibodies relies on immunization or in-vitro selection from large, pre-defined libraries with limited sequence space coverage. Selecting a drug candidate from billions of potential antibody sequences is laborious and expensive and, in many cases, fails to identify functional antibodies. Recent advances in protein structure prediction, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, and increased availability of experimentally determined antigen-antibody structures present a unique opportunity for AI-driven antibody discovery.

AION Labs is inviting computational biologists and biomedical scientists at academic and industry research labs worldwide to propose the development of a next-generation general computational platform for the design of high-affinity and biophysically well-behaved antibody binders directed towards epitopes of choice, starting from an antigen structure or antigen sequence as an input. The AION Labs pharma partners involved in this project will provide wealth of data for model training and their expertise in setting specifications and evaluating the outcome. Original ideas that go far beyond the current state-of-the-art are being encouraged.

“AION Labs is proud and excited to be launching our first call for application,” said Mati Gill, CEO of AION Labs. “We look forward to providing the chosen startup with our strong resources and mentorship as we work together to develop a cutting-edge solution to overcome the pharmaceutical challenge of selecting drug candidates from antibody sequences. This is just the beginning.”

As part of the online application procedure, interested candidates are requested to submit a competitive project proposal. After a preliminary short-listing round, candidates will be invited to a five-day innovation boot camp in Rehovot. With the support of experienced mentors from the pharma, tech and VC industries, the winning team of scientists will be trained and guided during a fully-funded incubation period of up to four years towards becoming an independent startup.

Further details about this call for application can be found on the AION Labs website: Interested candidates are invited to apply via the BioMed X Career Space at before December 12, 2021.

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) 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 big 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

Lior Feigin
FINN Partners for AION Labs
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