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Exclusive interview with Robert Young released ahead of AI in Drug Discovery 2020

01-15-2020 03:17 PM CET | Health & Medicine

Press release from: SMi Group

AI in Drug Discovery 2020

AI in Drug Discovery 2020

SMi Reports: Industry expert and conference speaker, Robert Young, Principal, Blue Burgundy, was interviewed ahead of March’s AI in Drug Discovery conference.

SMi Group’s inaugural AI in Drug Discovery conference will take place on 16th-17th March in London. As the first AI in Drug Discovery event, it will highlight topics on AI machine learning technologies and its potential to reduce drug discovery costs by an estimated US$70 billion over the next decade, as well as explore how AI will pave a way to shorter, cheaper and more successful research and development.

SMi caught up with industry expert and conference speaker, Robert Young, Principal, Blue Burgundy, to find out more about his role in the industry, what he’s looking forward to at AI in Drug Discovery, and more.

Here is a snapshot of what was discussed:

How have you come to found your own company - the Blue Burgundy Drug Discovery Consulting Ltd - and what primary goals are you trying to achieve?
“I founded Blue Burgundy Drug Discovery Consulting when I took early retirement from GSK in July 2019. The aims of the consultancy are to harness my many years of drug discovery experience to identify the issues and opportunities in clients’ programmes, then to bring imaginative and innovative thinking to address them, without dogma, whilst looking to address the unique needs of every programme. Much of this will use my expertise in predictive design and trajectory mapping. Teaching and mentoring others will be an important element too.”

What would you say makes 2020 the ideal year for discussing AI in drug discovery?
The momentum and funding behind AI has burgeoned the past few years and it is now time to critically evaluate how chemists and machines can best work in harmony to add to add substance to the hype that the field has generated.

Can you tell us a little bit about your talk on synchronizing humans and computers? What you are hoping for attendees to take away from your talk?
“There are things the trained human brain can still do better than any algorithm – we can understand the scope and limitations of any fundamental calculations. My expertise lies in Physical Properties, the most fundamentally important descriptors in drug discovery, yet the way they are measured has fundamental flaws – so any predictive calculations will have compounding errors. And is it the Intrinsic or Effective lipophilicity of a molecule that actually matters?”

The full interview is available to download at

Rob will be presenting “Chemicals and Computers in Harmony: How to Surf the Wave?” on day one of the conference, covering:

• Drug Discovery is a game of establishing facts, recognising patterns and following principles.
• A chemist’s eyes, skill and experience can be augmented by good design and prediction.
• Don’t place your faith in models or models of models; treat/interpret data with caution.
• Compound quality is a destination not a journey.

As well as speaking at the main conference, Rob will be leading the half-day post-conference workshop ’Practical Application of Predictive Properties in Drug Design’ on Wednesday 18th March.

Interested parties can view the full agenda and book their place online at

AI in Drug Discovery Conference 2020
Main Conference: 16th-17th March 2020
Post-Conference Workshop: 18th March 2020
London, UK

--- ENDS –
Contact Information:
For media enquiries, contact Jinna Sidhu on Tel: +44 (0)20 7827 6088 or

India House, 45 Curlew Street

About SMi Group:
Established since 1993, the SMi Group is a global event-production company that specializes in Business-to-Business Conferences, Workshops, Masterclasses and online Communities. We create and deliver events in the Defence, Security, Energy, Utilities, Finance and Pharmaceutical industries. We pride ourselves on having access to the world’s most forward-thinking opinion leaders and visionaries, allowing us to bring our communities together to Learn, Engage, Share and Network. More information can be found at

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