ISRAELVALLEY LIVE FROM HOTEL ALMA IN ZIKHRON YAAKOV (1). FRANCE-ISRAEL CONFERENCE The Chief Scientist of Israel, Dr. Ami Appelbaum has just presented the Aion Labs.
Aion Labs, based in Israel, focuses on the use of AI in the pharmaceutical field. Founded in 2021, it is currently accepting applications from computational biologists, bioinformaticians, AI researchers and other scientists for its third challenge, which is to result in the creation of a new AI-focused platform designed to help pharmaceutical research.
The lab works with major pharmaceutical companies, such as AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Israel Biotech Fund and Teva Pharmaceuticals, as well as technology company Amazon Web Services.
“Merck and the other partners are very interested in new biological entities, namely a large number of constructs based on antibody design,” Noga Yerushalmi, director of investments at Merck’s M Ventures, told MobiHealthNews.
“And until today, to produce an antibody, for it to become a therapeutic drug, you had to go through certain stages that were biological. (…) The first series of proposals from Aion Labs has in fact created the necessary ecosystem to offer solutions to carry out this whole process in a completely computational way, that is to say from the structure .
“This 3D structure of your target could make it possible to design a molecule on the computer, then synthesize it, try it and see if it works. But the ability to do that comes with a lot of data from previous structure analyzes and previous antibody designs that have been done, and we can provide this company with a lot of data, and also with advancements in some of the tools for calculations that currently make it possible to model almost any protein by computer. »
The program engages finalists in a five-day training camp in Rehovot, Israel, and pairs them with teammates. The winning team of scientists receives mentorship from pharmaceutical, technology and venture capital companies for a fully-funded incubation period of up to four years.
Aion Labs is based in Israel and funded by the Israeli government. According to Benita, Israel is a great place for innovation for a few key reasons.
“The entrepreneurial spirit is very present there. But I think it also has to do with the fact that Israel is relatively small and very connected. Noga, for example, knew all of his peers from Pfizer, AZ, and American Teva before Aion Labs was founded, so people know each other.
“It’s very digitized. And you could also see, thanks to COVID, the deployment of the vaccines, the analysis of the data, the collection of the data, Israel was advanced. It’s because everything is really well connected, and that gives a very strong added value. »
(1) Building on two very successful editions in 2016 and 2018, “Meet in Galilee”, an association under the 1901 law, is organizing today, on the model of Aix en Provence, the third edition of the medico-economic forum. On the scientific level, the medico-economic forum takes place on July 24, 2022.
The mission of “Meet in Galilee” is to develop meetings and long-term partnerships / cooperation between French and Israeli scientists and between French and Israeli companies.
AION Labs was founded in Rehovot, Israel in 2021 as an alliance of global pharma and technology leaders and investors to create and incubate innovative startup companies which will pave the way to the future of drug discovery and development. The alliance is supported by the Israel Innovation Authority with the objective to build a world-class innovation ecosystem in Israel attracting the world’s best biotech talent and investment from global big pharma and venture capital.
The new venture creation process of AION Labs is built on the successful innovation model of the BioMed X Institute in Heidelberg, Germany, which serves as a strategic partner for the alliance. The annual process always starts with the identification and selection of the top AI challenges between the four global pharma partners of AION Labs, identification of the best researchers and entrepreneurs world-wide to solve the challenges using BioMed X’s global crowdsourcing platform, and selection of the best of the best talents and ideas in a local innovation boot camp in Israel. The winner of each boot camp is relocated with his/her family to Israel, receives a seed investment of two million US$ for up to four years to start his/her new AI company, mentorship and training data from the sponsoring partners, as well as full access to AION Labs’ facilities and local network.
The AION Labs facilities – a fully equipped co-working space with computational and wet labs – is located on the top floor of Rehovot’s tallest building with a beautiful view of the neighboring Weizmann Institute.