Accelerating Drug Discovery through digital and AI innovations

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Emerging data technologies and AI are already identifying the drivers behind disease and discovering new approaches to diagnose and treat those diseases. This event by the BIA Science and Innovation Advisory Committee (SIAC) will help SMEs involved in discovering new therapies and diagnostics understand how they can benefit from digital tools and innovations to accelerate R&D, reduce the risks, and transform their businesses.

Case studies will be presented from organisations that have successfully used AI and digital tools in discovery, covering data generation, manipulation, and application. Further workshops are likely to follow on topics identified by attendees, so please do share your thoughts on how we can support you in this area.

If you'd like to join this event, we would be grateful if you would fill out this 5-minute survey to help us understand how best to tailor this event to your needs.



09:15   Sign in and networking

09:30   Welcome
Justin Bryans, LifeArc

09:35   Using cause-and-effect to empower drug discovery
             Dan Jamieson, Biorelate

09:50   Data and AI applied to drug repositioning in rare diseases
             Richard Smith, Healx

10:05   Data generation, data access and AI tools to accelerate discovery
             Rafael Jimenez, Medicines Discovery Catapult

10:20   Data-driven computational approaches for identifying novel therapeutic targets and drug repositioning opportunities
             Namshik Han, Milner Therapeutics Institute, University of Cambridge

10:35   Break

10:50   Live Q&A and panel discussion with specific reference to issues participants are facing

             Chaired by Karen Wilkinson (KTN) and Liliya Serazetdinova (Earlham Institute)
             Richard Goodwin, AstraZeneca
             Namshik Han, Milner Institute
             Dan Jamieson, Biorelate
             Rafael Jimenez, Medicines Discovery Catapult
             Adam Sardar, e-Therapeutics

11:50   Summary and closing remarks
Justin Bryans, LifeArc



Justin Bryans

Executive Director, Drug Discovery


Justin trained at the Universities of York and Oxford and has worked as a medicinal chemist for over 25 years in Biotech and Pharma, including Parke-Davis and Pfizer, delivering a number of clinical candidates. He joined LifeArc in 2005 where he currently leads the drug discovery team collaborating with academics on cutting edge science to deliver proof of concept and develop potential drugs for diseases of high unmet need. Justin teaches on drug discovery at QMUL, UCL and the Wellcome Trust. He also sits on the Drug Discovery Committee for Cancer Research UK and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Richard Goodwin

Head of Imaging & AI, CPSS


Richard leads a global team of passionate imaging scientists that deliver expertise across AstraZeneca cutting-edge multidimensional imaging modalities, deriving project insight and impact by connecting safety and efficacy endpoints using advanced tissue histology, molecular imaging, in vivo PET, MRI and much more. This is all connected by an integrated image analysis, digitization and AI.

Richard is passionate about collaboration and embedding new technologies and data analysis into the drug discovery process. He has published over 75 publications while at AstraZeneca on the development and deployment of new technology in support of the portfolio, and is honorary Professor at University of Glasgow.

Namshik Han

Head of Computational Research and AI

Milner Therapeutics Institute, University of Cambridge

Namshik Han is a computational drug discovery scientist and a research group leader, coming from a background in machine learning, computational biology, cancer genomics and cancer epigenomics. He leads the computational biology group at the Milner Therapeutics Institute University of Cambridge, dedicated and bespoke Artificial Intelligence technologies that deal with the uncertainty and complexity of biological datasets to reveal novel disease pathways and mechanisms.

AI promises to revolutionize the ability to identify disease mechanisms and potential drug targets, informing patient care from disease diagnosis through to treatment. Towards this aim, I facilitate access of the Milner Therapeutics Consortium to cutting-edge AI technology and to develop new computational methods fulfilling the global mission of identifying new or better therapies from the analysis of biological data.

The main activity of Namshik's lab is the development and application of machine learning, statistical and mathematical approaches to pharmacogenomics and drug discovery, strongly focusing on the use of publicly available big data, and utilizing experimental data generated on purpose by the partner organizations. Projects within the lab include (1) discovery of new therapeutic targets, (2) identification of drug (re)positioning opportunities, (3) stratification of patients for personalized medicine and (4) biomarker discovery for diagnostics.

Dan Jamieson

CEO & Founder


Daniel founded Biorelate during a PhD in computational biology at the University of Manchester, after supporting the successful identification of drug repurposing opportunities with Pfizer. Daniel’s focus remains on growing Biorelate into a world leading enterprise, helping pioneering companies in their mission to develop life-saving innovations.

Rafael Jimenez

Head of Bioinformatics

Medicines Discovery Catapult

Rafael leads the bioinformatics and cheminformatics teams supporting UK SMEs to solve problems in medicines discovery by interpreting large amounts of data using novel informatics methods. Previously he was the Head of Research Informatics at Alzheimer's Research UK and the Operations Director of the Early Detection of Neurodegenerative Diseases initiative (EDoN) leading data science projects focused on the validation of digital biomarkers for detecting diseases which cause dementia. He has extensive experience leading data management and data integration efforts especially designing and implementing strategies and data services in the areas of genomics, proteomics, molecular interactions and neurobiology.

For 5 years he was the CTO and Chief Data Architect of ELIXIR contributing to building a federated data infrastructure participated by more than 200 European service providers working together to better manage, sustain, integrate and harmonise research data resources in life sciences. He also led the development of well-known data resources like IntAct at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), contributed to defining the interoperability strategy of major initiatives like the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and played a key role in establishing community efforts like BioJS, Bioschemas, PSICQUIC and Biocontainers. He is also part of the Technical Advisory Board of the Alzheimer’s Disease Data Initiative (ADDI).

Adam Sardar

Head of Data Science


Adam’s team supports early-stage discovery projects with work at the interface between bioinformatics and chemoinformatics, using data science to help link small-molecule bioactivity to cellular and, ultimately, phenotypic behaviour. An appreciation for the data, and their myriad artefacts, is essential.

Liliya Seratzetdinova

Head of Business Development & Impact

Earlham Institute

Liliya has a PhD in Plant Genetics and Biology from the University of Hamburg, Germany, and over 14 years scientific expertise in plant breeding, phytopathology, and biochemistry. She has over 10 years of experience in knowledge transfer and commercialisation with a strong track record in establishing academia-business collaborations and helping consortia to win funding for innovation and R&D. Liliya is leading the Earlham Institute Business Development and Impact Team, delivering the EI’s Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation Strategy, and supporting the EI Faculty with developing links with other academic organisations, private companies and wider stakeholders, and realising the impact of EI research.

Prior to the Earlham Institute, Liliya worked at KTN as a Knowledge Transfer Manager within the Agri-Food Team, where she supported large and small companies developing innovative technologies, and worked with government agencies, Innovate UK, research organisations and public funding bodies aiming to add value to the UK economy from exploitation of innovative products and technologies. Prior to KTN, Liliya worked at the University of East Anglia where she managed the delivery of several large multi-partner projects including the £5.3m InCrops Project (ERDF co-funded), £14.6m EnAlgae Project (INTERREG co-funded), BioInno project (Lifelong Learning Programme), and Commercial Consultancy activities.

Richard Smith

Senior Software Engineer


Richard has worked for over twenty years in life science companies and academia with a common theme of building databases and tools to help answer scientific questions. His main interests are integrating multiple types of data, taking advantage of natural language processing and expert curation to unlock the value in data.

Healx is a drug discovery company combining artificial intelligence, data and deep pharmacology expertise to identify drug treatments for rare diseases. Richard joined Healx six years ago as the first employee and has been part of the company's growth to over a hundred people. Richard is now the data content lead, his team works to understand data needs across the company, integrate scientific data from a wide range of sources and make them available for use by AI methods and internal tools.

Karen Wilkinson

Knowledge Transfer Manager

Knowledge Transfer Network

Karen's professional background combines eight years of collaboration and research management, intellectual property development and Knowledge Exchange activities for medicine, health and care at the University of Sheffield, with 15 years’ business experience in the pharmaceutical industry, managing international clinical trials. Karen has experience in clinical trials, medical devices, digital health. Research development and management. R&D funding mechanisms, application review and decision making. Development of research partnerships; network development and events management. Intellectual property management; IP licensing and spin outs.

Virtual format & tech requirements

We are excited to bring you this BIA regional focused networking event in virtual format.

You will be able to join us online to network and, similar to an in-person event, move from virtual table to table to mingle with other attendees. The platform we will be using also includes useful features which will allow you to message directly with other attendees and share LinkedIn details to connect. There is also a general chat for all attendees.

During the presentations/discussion you will be able to submit and vote on audience questions and we will try our best to cover everything in the time allocated.

What are the technical requirements to attend the virtual event?

  • There is no software installation or download required.
  • Please attend using a laptop or desktop computer with audio and video capabilities (webcam and microphone). 
  • You will need to use one of the supported browsers to have the best user experience:
    Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
  • Please do a system check in advance of the event, to ensure you will be able to join without issue.

If your company has firewalls or browsing restrictions in place, please test your connection and liaise with your IT team in advance to ensure you are able to fully participate in the event.

Cost and booking T&Cs

BIA members:     Free
Non-members:   £30 +VAT

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