Insilico Medicine appoints Dr. Feng Ren as co-CEO

Insilico Medicine appoints Dr. Feng Ren as co-CEO

Dr. Feng Ren, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and head of global research and development is named co-CEO of Insilico Medicine


  • Insilico Medicine is a global, end-to-end, fully-integrated AI-powered biotechnology company with three business models: AI platform, collaboration, and internal pipeline.
  • It utilizes AI and a fully distributed, highly parallel discovery model to rapidly develop its own drugs. Since 2021, the company has nominated 8 preclinical candidates and reached Phase I clinical trials with an AI-discovered and AI-designed molecule.
  • It is also developing a set of AI platforms for target discovery, multi-parameter optimization, generative chemistry, and prediction of clinical trials.
  • In the pharmaceutical industry, the internal pipeline, and especially, clinical assets, are much more important and expensive than computational platforms and other enabling technologies. Historically, companies in computationally-augmented discovery, reduced or completely eliminated the teams developing platforms in favor of pipeline assets.
  • Insilico will ensure continued leadership of its AI and robotics platform technology and focus on developing internal and partnered therapeutic assets, adopting an innovative AI-Powered Drug Discovery and Development (AIDD) organizational structure with two CEOs.
  • The execution of the AIDD structure will start with the nomination of Dr. Feng Ren as co-CEO of Insilico Medicine.

NEW YORK, June 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Insilico Medicine, a global clinical-stage artificial intelligence (AI)-powered drug discovery and development company, today announced the appointment of Dr. Feng Ren as a co-CEO.

The new AIDD leadership model of Insilico Medicine - collaborative AI and drug discovery leadership
The new AIDD leadership model of Insilico Medicine – collaborative AI and drug discovery leadership

Dr. Ren is currently Insilico Medicine’s Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Global Research and Development. He will retain those titles following the appointment and will also oversee clinical development with full control over discovery, development, and infrastructure. In addition, he will further drive Insilico’s business development in the new role. The appointment solidifies Insilico’s commitment to both artificial intelligence and drug development. Alex Zhavoronkov, Ph.D., will continue to serve as CEO and focus on global expansion and next-generation AI platforms while Dr. Ren will drive the company’s drug development efforts.

After obtaining a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Harvard University, Dr. Ren spent 15 years in drug discovery and development in the healthcare industry, including with a top multinational pharmaceutical company and a global contract research organization (CRO). He joined Insilico Medicine from Medicilon, a global CRO, where he served as Senior Vice President and Head of Drug R&D, leading the chemistry and biology departments. Prior to joining Medicilon, Dr. Ren served in various drug discovery leadership roles at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in both Philadelphia and Shanghai.

He advised Insilico prior to joining the company, evaluating the potential of its end-to-end biology and chemistry AI platform. In February 2021, Dr. Ren became Insilico’s Chief Scientific Officer, overseeing internal drug discovery efforts, and helped Insilico deliver the first AI-discovered novel target and AI-designed novel molecule into IND-enabling studies.

“I am excited to find new solutions to accelerate and improve drug discovery. As an advisor, I saw that Insilico had tapped into AI’s potential in new ways,” said Feng Ren, Ph.D., Co-CEO and CSO of Insilico Medicine. “What impressed me the most was that the team led by Alex had years of experience solving pharmaceutical challenges. I recognized a company that was ready to discover novel therapeutics at scale and with high efficiency. It was an incredible opportunity, so I was very glad to make the leap and shift into AIDD.”                       

Under Dr. Ren’s leadership, Insilico expanded the drug discovery team and developed a growing portfolio in frontier areas. Since 2021, the company has nominated 8 preclinical candidates and advanced into IND-enabling studies, including with a novel 3CL protease inhibitor for COVID-19 treatment, and two synthetic lethality programs targeting MAT2A and USP1 for oncology indications. It also successfully completed a Phase 0 microdose study and entered a Phase I clinical trial with its first internally developed program targeting fibrosis. Dr. Ren also contributed significantly to company strategies, business development, and geographic site operations.

“Dr. Ren is a phenomenal leader and innovator, and I am thrilled to take Insilico Medicine to the next stage with him as a co-captain,” said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD., Founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine. “Since Dr. Ren joined the company, we set several industry records. The vision that we presented to top pharma executives when the company was founded in 2014 has become a reality. We never imagined how quickly we would advance our drug candidate with a novel target and novel molecule discovered and designed using Insilico’s proprietary AI into the clinic. Dr. Ren and I are ready to follow this first success with many more.”

The company has innovated in a number of areas, including developing a discovery model where multiple CROs perform redundant experiments to ensure that data is validated. Under Dr. Ren’s leadership, Insilico has also built a discovery team in the same time zone with the CROs. Also, the company recently announced a fully automated AI-driven robotics lab which will be launched later this year.

“We are at a pivotal moment. We have a clinical program, and we are hopeful that many other programs will soon reach the clinical stage. We are also in the process of establishing a fully automated AI-driven robotics lab, a cutting-edge technology to accelerate our drug R&D,” said Feng Ren, Ph.D., Co-CEO and CSO of Insilico Medicine. “To grow, we are building a new, innovative organizational structure with many individual contributors and teams driving innovation with passion, dedication, and the highest level of operational excellence. Simultaneously, we continue to maintain our focus on growing and advancing our proprietary AI platform. I am pleased to serve as Co-CEO and look forward to taking the company to the next level, delivering on our commitment to accelerate drug discovery and development, and contributing to unmet medical needs for patients worldwide”.

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a clinical stage end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques to discover novel targets and to design novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is delivering breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system (CNS) diseases and aging-related diseases.

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AIDD organizational structure designed to set records in drug discovery and clinical development using AI and maintain leadership in algorithm development
AIDD organizational structure designed to set records in drug discovery and clinical development using AI and maintain leadership in algorithm development