Call for Application #2022-AIL-C03 closed since April 17, 2022

AI Enabled Design and Optimization of Antibodies for Targeted Therapies

Call closed!

1 Scientist Founder
2 Scientist Co-Founders

What we are looking for

AION Labs the Israel-based alliance of AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, Israel Biotech Fund and Amazon Web Services (AWS), powered by BioMed X is supporting the establishment of a new, fully funded startup company in the field of:

AI Enabled Design and Optimization of Antibodies for Targeted Therapies

If you hold a PhD or master’s degree with an outstanding track record or strong interest in the fields of computational biology, bioinformatics, cheminformatics or antibody / protein engineering, we invite you to apply with a project proposal for a position in our new startup team.

Each AION Labs startup team is sponsored by several industry-leading partners and supported by the Israel Innovation Authority. The sponsors of this call for application are AstraZeneca, Israel Biotech Fund, Merck, Pfizer, and Teva, with close support from AWS.

Antibody treatments continue to be the standard of care for several disease areas and have emerged as cornerstone therapies during the current pandemic. However, despite being primary treatment modalities for over two decades, the cycle times for the discovery and optimization of therapeutic antibodies can still span several years. In order to achieve developable antibody therapeutics exhibiting target specific binding, stability and scalability, several biophysical parameters need to be streamlined. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to broaden the explored sequence space, accelerate the selection of fully optimized antibodies, and shorten overall lead discovery times by successfully predicting relevant parameters.

This challenge invites you to propose development of AI based platforms for the optimization of antibodies for targeted therapies with enhanced properties, including developability / manufacturability, stability, aggregation, immunogenicity, pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution. We envision the development of an “end -to -end” AI platform that receives sequences of binders and generates novel variants with optimized IgG sequences, biophysical and targeting properties.

The goal of the AI algorithm is to make an existing antibody a better drug while reducing design iterations, optimization of cycle times and lowering attrition rates. The pharma partners involved in this project will provide data for model / algorithm development (where possible) and their expertise and direction in setting specifications, and for evaluating the outcome along various milestones. Very original ideas which go far beyond the current state-of-the-art are particularly encouraged.

The group leader / startup founder position is intended to suit candidates who would like to develop themselves towards an entrepreneurship path, and who typically have a PhD plus four to eight years of additional research experience in academia and/or industry.

Candidates for postdoctoral researcher / scientist co-founder positions are expected to have completed a PhD or equivalent within the last four years and a certain degree of specialization in one or more relevant cutting-edge technologies and scientific areas including, but not limited to computational biology, bioinformatics, cheminformatics or antibody / protein engineering.

What we offer

  • A position in a fully funded new startup company: the funding package covering salaries, consumables, services, travel costs, as well as access to the core facilities and data repositories of major research institutions, hospitals, and health management organizations in Israel and beyond.
  • Equity in the new startup company.
  • An initial funding term of at least $1M for first two years, with the possibility of prolongation for up to two additional years with at least $1M, with working space provided in the AION labs premises including wet and computational labs.
  • Continuous guidance and support from experienced mentors from academia, the pharma industry, the tech industry, and venture capital.
  • An exciting research opportunity in a multidisciplinary and international startup incubator embedded in one of the strongest biomedical innovation ecosystems in Israel.

There is flexibility over starting dates, but successful applicants are welcome to take up post in Israel starting September 1, 2022.

Application & Selection Process

  • Please apply online at
  • As part of the online application procedure, you will be asked to submit: (i) A competitive project proposal addressing the challenge of this call (3-5 pages describing your core hypothesis, scientific rationale, and unique approach to solve the challenge); (ii) Your curriculum vitae including your publication record.
  • Deadline for applications: April 10, 2022.
  • After a first selection round, candidates will be invited to a five-day innovation boot camp in Israel from June 19 to 23, 2022. With guidance from experienced mentors, candidates will jointly work on their project proposals and present them in front of a jury on the final day. Successful candidates will be offered a position as founders in the new startup company at the AION Labs innovation lab in Israel.

About AION Labs

AION Labs is a first-of-its-kind alliance of AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, Teva, the Israel Biotech Fund and Amazon Web Services (AWS) that have come together with one clear mission: to create and adopt groundbreaking new AI technologies that will transform the process of drug discovery and development in order to contribute to the health and well-being of all people world-wide.

Located within the Israeli biotech hotspot in Rehovot adjacent to Weizmann Institute for Sciences, AION Labs is a unique venture hub where brilliant innovators convene from around the world to solve the biggest R&D challenges guided by years of accumulated know-how, data and experience in pharma. The lab leverages its partners’ wealth of knowledge and a new multidisciplinary mindset with the ingenuity, agility and innovative power of Israel’s start-up ecosystem, to develop strong companies with clear long-term strategies, that will pave the way to the future of healthcare. AION Labs cultivates innovation from within; its unique venture creation process bridges the gap between outstanding academic research in the field of AI and the biggest R&D needs in the discovery and development of new medicines for the benefit of patients.

About BioMed X

BioMed X is an independent research institute located on the campus of the University of Heidelberg in Germany, with a world-wide network of partner locations. Together with our partners, we identify big biomedical research challenges and provide creative solutions by combining global crowdsourcing with local incubation of the world’s brightest early-career research talents. Each of the highly diverse research teams at BioMed X has access to state-of-the-art research infrastructure and is continuously guided by experienced mentors from academia and industry. At BioMed X, we combine the best of two worlds – academia and industry – and enable breakthrough innovation by making biomedical research more efficient, more agile, and more fun.



4 Oppenheimer St.
Rehovot Science Park
Ogen Building
7670104 Rehovot

Phone: +972 50-831-8505