Incoming SLAS Board Member Leverages AI in Drug Discovery

Jonathan O’Connell brings Valo Health out of Stealth Mode


WESTBROOK, ME (January 12, 2021) – Artel scientist Karlton Moore recently interviewed incoming SLAS board member Jonathan O’Connell for SLAS’ New Matter podcast series. Here’s a sample of the topics discussed in this episode:

Karlton Moore: “Let me present you with the SLAS challenge: Describe what you do day to day in 10 words or less.”

Jonathan O’Connell: “Revolutionizing drug discovery by combining AI with data generation at scale.”


Karlton: “Was science something you were into as a child, or did you have a teacher come along, a professor in college, a mentor?”

Jonathan: “I had a natural aptitude for science as a child, a passion for it. Biology, chemistry, math, physics. I was a disaster at languages. Initially I wanted to be a vet but it didn’t quite work out. Vet school in the UK is particularly difficult and I didn’t quite get the grades so I went into biochemistry.”


Karlton: So what’s going on at Valo Health?

Jonathan: “We’re a year and a half old and have come out of stealth mode. Our approach is to leverage AI at all stages of drug discovery. I’m focused on early stages; target selection through lead identification and lead optimization processes. We’re able to generate data at scale, lots of data in parallel. When you apply AI on top of that our goal is to significantly compress the drug discovery cycle time and costs. By analyzing thousands of candidate molecules in parallel instead of one or two at a time we’re aiming to compress the time and costs by half.”


The entirety of this interesting and insightful podcast is available on the SLAS and Artel websites.