Industry Veteran to Lead Company’s Therapeutic Development
Vancouver, BC – March 15, 2022 – Variational AI, developer of state-of-the-art generative AI technology to redefine the economics of drug development by accelerating the discovery of novel and optimized small molecule therapeutics, today announced that Peter Guzzo, Ph.D., has joined the company as vice president, head of drug discovery. Guzzo has spent his 25-year career focused on finding innovative therapeutics for poorly treated diseases and will work on translating hits for various important biological targets discovered through Variational AI’s proprietary generative AI platform into candidate compounds for clinical development.
Peter has knowledge in multiple therapeutic indications, including oncology, central nervous system diseases, metabolic disorders, intellectual property creation and building entrepreneurial teams. He is an inventor on 43 patents, co-author of 47 scientific publications and has presented 28 invited lectures. During his career, he has led cross-functional teams, delivering 11 innovative drugs into clinical development. He has extensive experience collaborating with pharma, biotech, academic institutions and contract research organizations to execute drug discovery and development projects.
Guzzo most recently served as vice president, drug development at Tryp Therapeutics, Inc. and senior vice president of drug discovery and development at SciMount Therapeutics, co-founder and advisor at ConSynance Therapeutics, Inc. and advisor at YDS Medicine. He earned his doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Notre Dame. He completed post-doctoral studies in organic synthesis at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
“As a seasoned therapeutic development leader, Peter’s expertise will enable Variational AI to move projects further down the drug discovery pathway and value chain,” said Handol Kim, co-founder and CEO, Variational AI. “Peter’s leadership will also help our team expand upon the number and types of projects we can work on internally and with partners.”
“I am excited to join a team that is truly dedicated to revolutionizing the development of new, life-saving drugs,” said Guzzo. “I look forward to accelerating Variational AI’s journey from a generative AI startup to a therapeutics company.”
Marawan Ahmed, Ph.D. has also joined the Variational AI team as cheminformatician. He received his Ph.D. in computational chemistry from the Swinburne University of Technology and completed post-doctoral studies in computational chemistry at the University of Alberta, where he served as a research associate, and has worked with various organizations in drug discovery.
Variational AI uses machine learning to discover novel, drug-like small molecules. The company’s algorithm, Enki, learns from a training set of molecules screened against drug targets from both experimental and computational sources and then generates novel molecular structures with multiple pre-defined parameters/properties, which are optimized to avoid common causes of drug attrition. Variational AI performs optimization in tandem – requiring less data than other AI solutions in the market and delivering results in months versus years.
About Variational AI
Variational AI uses state-of-the-art machine learning in a data-efficient method to rapidly generate novel and diverse compounds that are optimized for multiple properties to avoid the most common causes of drug attrition and increase clinical probability of success. Variational AI works with leading biopharmaceutical partners and is developing its own internal pipeline. To learn more, visit https://variational.ai.