MWI21 (3)

02/02: Committee Educational Session: Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery

February 2, 2021 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM


Virtual - all times are eastern standard time


90 minutes CLE

Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery

Hosted by the Emerging Technologies, Food & Drug, Chemical Practice, and Biotechnology Committees


AI is being increasingly applied in drug discovery, for tasks such as establishing biomarkers, re-purposing existing drugs, and validating and optimizing drug candidates. Not only are advances in AI improving research and development, they are also challenging traditional ways in which companies protect intellectual property, particularly with respect to patents, trade secrets, and data.  

The panel will explore how AI is transforming drug discovery and IP protection in the life sciences, as well as broader difficulties and opportunities which AI poses to the fundamental IP framework. Finally, the panel will discuss how advances in AI are changing how regulators approach drug and device approvals.

Ryan Abbott, MD, JD, MTOM, PhD (Mediator and Arbitrator, JAMS & Professor of Law and Health Sciences, University of Surrey School of Law) 

•    Corey Salsberg (Vice President, Global Head IP Affairs, Novartis)
•    Andrew Whitehead (Assistant General Counsel, Informatics & Personalized Health Care IP at Genentech)
•    Stephen Johnson (Senior Director, Molecular Structure and Design, Bristol Myers Squibb)
•   Esther Bleicher, JD MPH (Executive Director of Regulatory Policy and Counsel at Valo Health)


  • Johnson_Steven_headshot_200 Johnson, Stephen

    Bristol Myers Squibb | Senior Director, Molecular Structure and Design

    Stephen leads a team of scientists focused on computational chemistry, cheminformatics, and structural biology within Small Molecule Drug Discovery at Bristol Myers Squibb. His research focuses on the combination of physics-based modeling methods with machine learning algorithms to advance the identification and design of drug candidates.
  • Bleicher-Esther-headshot 200 Bleicher, Esther W.B.

    Valo Health | Executive Director of Regulatory Policy and Counsel

    Esther W.B. Bleicher is the lead legal business partner supporting Valo's research and development programs, including Valo's use of real-world data, to combine human and machine intelligence to accelerate drug development. She is a Digital Ethics Board Member at Syntropy (Merck/Palantir) and Co-Chair of the Federal Engagement and Regulatory Affairs Committee at the Alliance for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare. Ms. Bleicher’s prior experience includes serving as Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Center Director in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and as Deputy Chief of Staff for the FDA Commissioner.
  • Salsberg, Corey200 Salsberg, Corey

    Novartis | Vice President and Global Head of IP Affairs

    Corey Salsberg is Vice President and Global Head of IP Affairs for Novartis, a global healthcare company that is one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical innovators. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of the Federal Circuit Bar Association, and California Lawyers for the Arts. A graduate of Stanford Law School and Yale University, Corey is an experienced practitioner with over 20 years of legal, policy and advocacy experience.
  • Whitehead, Andrew headshot200 Whitehead, Andrew

    Genentech | Assistant General Counsel, Informatics & Personalized Health Care IP

    Andrew Whitehead manages a small team of IP attorneys at Genentech supporting informatics and personalized healthcare initiatives. This includes spearheading patent portfolio development, supporting external partnering, and developing internal open source and data protection best practices.
  • Ryan Abbott -200 Abbott, Ryan

    University of Surrey School of Law | Professor of Law and Health Sciences

    Ryan Abbott is Professor of Law and Health Sciences at the University of Surrey School of Law, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Partner at Brown, Neri, Smith & Khan, LLP, and a mediator and arbitrator with JAMS.