Variational AI Adds Leading Oncology Researchers to Scientific Advisory Board

Leading Cancer and Drug Discovery Biologists Dr. John F. Boylan and Dr. Mads Daugaard Join SAB

Vancouver, BC – June 27, 2022 – Variational AI, developer of generative AI-based drug discovery platform for novel kinase inhibitors, today announced that it has added industry and scientific leaders Dr. John F. Boylan and Dr. Mads Daugaard to the company’s Scientific Advisory Board.

“We are pleased to welcome Drs Boylan and Daugaard to our scientific advisory board,” said Handol Kim, co-Founder and CEO, Variational AI. “Their respective expertise in cell biology and biology complements our existing strengths in machine learning and chemistry and will help us focus on rapidly developing novel multi-targeted kinase inhibitors for oncology. We look forward to working with our SAB members to bring new therapeutics to market to positively impact patient outcomes.”

Dr. John F. Boylan is a cell biologist by training focused on oncology drug discovery with a record of clinical success, contributing to 12 development candidates, 8 drugs that reached first-in-human clinical trials, and one approved drug; Vemurafenib (mutant BRAF inhibitor).  His broad drug discovery success encompasses small molecule, antibody, and antibody drug conjugate modalities. Dr. Boylan has led multidisciplinary teams and departments seeking to discover novel therapeutic biology that resulted in drug candidate selection. With expertise in all stages of drug discovery, Dr. Boylan has the ability to collaborate across disciplines and functions, manage multiple projects, evaluate key business drivers, and maintain focus on the critical path. He is the co-founder of f5 Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of first-in-class protein degradation small molecules for the treatment of diseases with high unmet medical need.  He has excelled  in research leadership roles at Amgen, Roche, and Celgene. Dr. Boylan currently serves as vice president of scientific strategy at Exelixis, helping to define the scientific approach underlying the development of the company’s biotherapeutics pipeline.

Dr. Mads Daugaard is head of the Molecular Pathology and Cell Imaging Unit, senior research scientist at Vancouver Prostate Center (VPC), and associate professor at the Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia (UBC). He operates in the translational cancer research space, integrating basic cancer discovery research with experimental therapeutic and diagnostic development in high-risk adult and childhood solid tumors. As part of his translational research focus, Daugaard has established the therapeutic development companies VAR2 Pharmaceuticals and OncoMal (2012), and the cancer diagnostics company VARCT Diagnostics (2017) to facilitate translation of his research towards the clinical arena. In 2021, Daugaard cofounded Rakovina Therapeutics where he currently serves as President and CSO. He is a co-principal investigator of the VPC small-molecule drug development pipeline ADDUCT. He received the 2019 Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award from the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in 2019 and the Prostate Cancer Canada Rising Star Award in 2014.

Drs. Boylan and Daugaard join current SAB members Dr. Artem Cherkasov, Dr. Alexander Tropsha, and Dr. Robert N. Young. The distinguished board members will work to ensure that Variational AI’s generative AI platform is informed by leading medicinal and computational chemistry expertise.

Variational AI uses generative machine learning to discover novel, multi-targeted kinase inhibitors. The company’s discovery engine, Enki, is trained on a large number of kinases to rapidly generate novel and highly selective inhibitors across a broad range of kinase targets.

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

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