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Breaking the Wall of Slow and Inefficient Drug Discovery

Falling Walls Foundation | Gisbert Schneider

How new drug candidates can be identified faster through automated molecular design

The discovery of new drugs and their development as medicines is a long, arduous, costly, and to some extent serendipitous process. Up to 90% of drug candidates fail during clinical development because they lack efficacy or show undesired side-effects. At the same time, good drugs are overlooked because researchers struggle with multi-dimensional optimization in the face of many unknowns. Gisbert Schneider is a professor at ETH Zurich, where he is the Chair for Computer-Assisted Drug Design. Having published over 400 scientific papers and winning several prestigious awards, Gisbert introduced the concept of adaptive, AI-based drug design to medicinal chemistry. The central idea is to partially transfer decision making from the human science manager to a machine intelligence that generates novel molecules with desired properties from scratch. At Falling Walls, Gisbert will talk about the problem of having too many – in fact almost infinite – choices when it comes to finding a treatment for a disease. He will show how a chemistry-savvy AI points out the molecules that are likely to succeed, thus leading to faster and more cost-effective drug discovery through informed decision-making.


Gisbert Schneider is the Breakthrough of the Year in the Science and Innovation Management category.

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Gisbert Schneider

ETH Zurich

Gisbert Schneider is full Professor of Computer-Assisted Drug Design at the ETH Zurich and Director of the Singapore-ETH Centre. His research focuses on adaptive biosystems and the integration of artificial intelligence into pharmaceutical research and chemical biology. He received his doctorate in biochemistry from the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. His professional career has led him from the Pharmaceuticals Division at Roche, Switzerland, back to academia, initially to the Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany, and then to his current position at the ETH Zurich.

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About the Venue
Radialsystem Berlin
Holzmarktstraße 33
Berlin, 10243 Germany
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