Alex Zhavoronkov

Generative Biology for Target Discovery: Hypothesis, Novel Target, Novel Small Molecule, In Vitro and In Vivo Validation in Under 18 Months

In November 2016 Insilico Medicine published the first peer-reviewed research paper on the applications of Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) to the generation of novel molecules with specified properties titled "The Cornucopia of Meaningful Leads: Applying deep adversarial autoencoders for new molecule development in oncology" starting a new field of generative chemistry. Approximately at the same time, it developed the first generative adversarial models for generation of synthetic biological data with the defined properties using age as a generation condition. This approach referred to as generative biology was used for identification of novel molecular targets in a variety of diseases including several liver diseases. In 2018 the first NASH targets were nominated for validation and generative chemistry approach was used to generate novel molecules for these biological targets. In 2019 these targets were validated in vitro and in vivo models. The talk will present the timeline of these discoveries and experimental validation of generative biology and generative chemistry approaches in NASH fibrosis models.

Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, is the founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine (, a leader in next-generation artificial intelligence technologies for drug discovery, biomarker development, and aging research. Since 2015 he invented critical technologies in the field of generative adversarial networks (GANs) and reinforcement learning (RL) for generation of the novel molecular structures with the desired properties and generation of synthetic biological and patient data. He also pioneered the applications of deep learning technologies for prediction of human biological age using multiple data types, transfer learning from aging into disease, target identification, and signaling pathway modeling. Under his leadership Insilico raised over $50 million in 3 rounds and partnered with multiple pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic institutions. Prior to founding Insilico, he worked in senior roles at ATI Technologies (acquired by AMD in 2006), NeuroG Neuroinformatics, Biogerontology Research Foundation. Since 2012 he published over 130 peer-reviewed research papers and 2 books including “The Ageless Generation: How Biomedical Advances Will Transform the Global Economy” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). He serves on the editorial boards of Aging, Aging Research Reviews, Trends in Molecular Medicine, Frontiers in Genetics, and chairs the Annual Aging Research, Drug Discovery and AI Forum (7th annual in 2020) at Basel Life, one of Europe's largest industry events in drug discovery. Dr. Zhavoronkov holds two bachelor degrees from Queen’s University, a master’s from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in Physics and Mathematics from Moscow State University. He is the adjunct professor of artificial intelligence at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

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