SI-AI20 – Artificial Intelligence and Fragment-Based Drug Discovery

  • Astex Pharmaceuticals
  • Cambridge
  • 04/08/2020
Full time Data Science Big Data Artificial Intelligence Statistics

Job Description

Astex Pharmaceuticals is a world leader in innovative drug discovery and development. The company has
successfully applied its proprietary Fragment-Based Drug Discovery (FBDD) platform to generate multiple new drug
candidates that are progressing in clinical development. Successful collaborations have led to two launched
oncology drugs (Kisqali® partnered with Novartis and BalversaTM partnered with Janssen). Astex continues to grow
and focuses on Oncology and Neurological Disorders.

Astex’s sustaining innovation Postdoctoral research program aims to maintain and further enhance the Company’s
excellent scientific culture by fostering basic research in areas of interest to the drug discovery field, whilst working
with scientists in both the biotech sector and with academic.

As part of the Sustaining Innovation program, Astex now has an opening for a postdoctoral scientist to work on
Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods to aid the structure-based fragment-to-lead optimisation process. The successful
candidate would join Astex’s computational chemistry and informatics team, which has extensive expertise in
developing structure-based design applications, and will be working alongside medicinal chemists, modellers and
structural biologists.

Development of AI technologies to facilitate and automate the structure-based optimisation of fragment hits
into leads.

AI technology is now widespread in society and has started to find applications in the drug discovery space. An
area that has had very little attention is the application of AI in an interactive design context, i.e. the use of AI to
evaluate and propose changes to existing scaffolds within the context of a protein binding site. The proposed SI
postdoc project aims to look at exactly this application of AI. This is a challenging, cutting edge application of AI
that is right in Astex’s field of expertise: developing fragment hits into potent leads. A unique feature of this
project is that the successful candidate will have full access to Astex’s database of many 1000s of X-ray structures
of fragment-protein complexes.

Candidate Requirements

  • A PhD in a relevant field
  • Proven track record in using and developing machine learning methods
  • Significant, relevant and demonstrable programming experience
  • Good communication skills

We offer excellent training and career development opportunities as well as a competitive salary and benefits

To apply please send your CV and a cover letter, quoting the job reference SI-AI20 to

At Astex we embrace diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse
Company representing all backgrounds, harnessing industry-leading scientific innovation and behaviours

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