As their first clinical data test looms, global AI player Insilico bumps up a GSK vet to co-CEO in charge of development
Days after topping up Insilico Medicine’s cash reserves with a $60 million round, the global AI player is redesigning its executive structure with an unusual twist as it shifts from pure drug design and discovery and builds out the pipeline with clinical stage assets.
A little more than a year after stepping in as the CSO, Feng Ren, the Harvard grad and GSK vet with experience in Philadelphia and Shanghai, is stepping up to a co-CEO role. He’ll be in charge of the development work, as they start testing more of their drugs in humans and put their promise of a more efficient approach to drug hunting to the ultimate test.
He’ll be operating alongside Alex Zhavoronkov, the always outspoken company founder who’s championed all things AI, with new robotics operations being added to the discovery mix as they raised more than $300 million in new money over the past year. Zhavoronkov stays in charge of the AI side of things.
He offered a thumbs up to his new “co-captain,” promising to set new records in speeding drugs into the clinic.
The move comes as Insilico pushes toward a promised Phase II for their fibrosis drug and looks to add more to the pipeline as they advance their preclinical work. After years of touting the potential of AI, the industry is getting to the point where human data will provide hard proof for an industry niche that has attracted billions in investment. And Insilico is in the front ranks of that trend, poised to start offering an objective grade on their efforts.
“We are at a pivotal moment. We have a clinical program, and we are hopeful that many other programs will soon reach the clinical stage. We are also in the process of establishing a fully automated AI-driven robotics lab, a cutting-edge technology to accelerate our drug R&D,” says Ren.
That will likely leave both CEOs with plenty on the to-do list.