17jun11:00 amDrugging the Undruggable: The Power of Artificial IntelligenceVirtual Hosted by: Demy-Colton

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Event Details

Join Dr. Robert J. Schneider, Albert B. Sabin Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Pathogenesis at NYU Medical School, as he speaks with an esteemed panel of experts on the power of artificial intelligence in drug discovery and development.

  • How are AI-based drug discovery companies designing new molecules for the hardest targets?
  • What is large pharma doing in terms of AI and machine learning in drug discovery?
  • How do they work on the hardest targets including previously undruggable proteins?

Hosted by Sara Demy, CEO of Demy-Colton, this panel is part of the Demy-Colton Virtual Salon Series, and part of the Biofuture™ Conference discussion track.

Panelist Bios:
Abraham Heifets, PhD
CEO and Co-Founder, Atomwise

Dr. Abraham Heifets is CEO and Co-Founder of Atomwise, where he and Co-Founder Dr. Izhar Wallach invented the use of deep convolutional neural networks for drug discovery. Dr. Heifets was a Massey Fellow at the University of Toronto—a center for AI innovation—and a Fellow of the Ontario Brain Institute. His doctoral work applied machine learning and classical AI techniques to organic synthesis planning, a long-standing challenge in chemistry. His vision of AI bringing better, safer and more potent drugs to patients was recently featured in the July 2019 Moonshot issue of Newsweek. Dr. Heifets is a thought-leader on the use of AI for drug discovery and is an author on 24 papers, patents and patent applications. Dr. Heifets has presented his work to the U.S. GAO, the National Institutes of Health, the American Chemical Society, and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

Marian Nakada, PhD
Vice President, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC

Marian Nakada Ph.D., VP Venture Investments for Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, has almost 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, starting her career at the laboratory bench at Centocor and moving to a research leadership role before Centocor’s acquisition by Johnson & Johnson in 1999.  She transitioned to Janssen Business Development and then joined JJDC, Johnson & Johnson’s corporate venture group in 2013.   Marian has a B.A. in Biology from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania.  She is currently on the Boards of Navitor Pharmaceuticals, Twenty-eight Seven Therapeutics, Ribon Therapeutics, Artizan Biosciences as well as the New England Venture Capital Association where she is working to champion change as an active contributor to its Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Noam Soloman, PhD
CEO and Co-Founder, immunai

Noam Soloman is the CEO and co-founder at immunai, the first and only company to map the entire immune system for better detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Leveraging single-cell technologies and machine learning algorithms, immunai has mapped out thousands of immune cells and their functions, building the largest proprietary data set in the world for clinical immunological data. Prior to co-founding immunai, Noam had a dual career in both the industry and academia. Noam is a double Ph.D., and served as a post-doctoral researcher in the Mathematics department at MIT, and in the center of mathematical sciences and applications at Harvard University. In his research, he developed and applied tools from algebra and Algebraic Geometry in the study of classical problems in combinatorics. Noam also worked as an algorithms developer in the Israeli defense forces and subsequently as a data scientist, consultant and head of data science in several hi-tech companies in Israel.

Alice Zhang
CEO & Co-Founder, Verge Genomics

Alice Zhang is the CEO and Co-founder of Verge Genomics. Alice has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Featured Honoree, MIT Technology Review’s Innovator Under 35, and SF Business Times’ 40 Under 40. Prior to Verge, she spent seven years at the forefront of systems biology research at the National Cancer Institute, the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University, and UCLA. She spent five years in the UCLA-Caltech MD/PhD program, where she helped author several papers on gene networks involved in neuroregeneration.  Alice received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in Molecular Biology and was a recipient of the prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. In her spare time, Alice also is an angel investor and advisor for startups at the intersection of technology and biology.


Jun. 17, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.



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