On the Cutting-Edge of the Fight Against the Pandemic

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Variational AI Receives Support from the Digital Technology Supercluster for Repurposing of Drugs for COVID-19

Vancouver, British Columbia [April 21, 2020] – Variational AI Inc. is pleased to announce a new project using their novel artificial intelligence technology to rapidly identify existing drugs with a high probability of being efficacious in combatting COVID-19.

While novel vaccines and drugs are currently being developed for COVID-19, they cannot be engineered, approved, and manufactured quickly. The first new vaccines for COVID-19 may be ready in 1 to 1½ years, and novel drugs may take much longer.

With support from the Digital Technology Supercluster, and working in partnership with adMare BioInnovations, Canada’s global life sciences venture, Variational AI will apply generative artificial intelligence to identify already-approved medications that can be expeditiously repurposed to fast-track life-saving treatment for COVID-19 patients.

“An effective therapeutic for COVID-19 may already be available today,” said Handol Kim, Co-Founder and CEO of Variational AI Inc. “At Variational, we’re using our state-of-the-art generative artificial intelligence to rapidly find the best COVID-19 therapeutics among all these approved drugs so adMare can then screen identified drug candidates in the laboratory, with the most promising to be tested in trials, and delivered quickly to improve patient outcomes.”

Dr. Lana Janes, Venture Partner with adMare BioInnovations added, “Canada has a proven track record in developing new therapeutics, and has been emerging as a global hub for artificial intelligence. We are excited to bring these two strengths together, coupling Variational’s deep expertise in machine learning with adMare’s drug development expertise, infrastructure, and network of global partners. It’s this kind of novel approach and sharing of resources that will enable us to ultimately beat COVID.”

The Digital Technology Supercluster is supporting Canadians in the fight against COVID-19, investing $60 million in their COVID-19 Program to deliver solutions to some of the biggest health and safety problems created by COVID-19. Four weeks ago, the Supercluster invited its network of over 500 organizations to submit ideas and proposals to address COVID-19 issues. From the 300+ submissions, Variational’s is one of the first four projects selected to be advanced.

“Canadian businesses are answering the call to pull together and drive hard with solutions that will help us through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster. “We are deeply grateful to the hundreds of organizations that are answering this call, showing the world what a united ‘Team Canada’ can do.”


Handol Kim
Co-Founder and CEO, Variational AI Inc.
Tel: 604.761.7199

Julia White
Senior Manager, Communications
adMare BioInnovations
Tel: 604.307.2372

Elysa Darling
Digital Technology Supercluster
Tel: 1.587.890.9833


About Variational AI:
Variational AI offers an early drug discovery service that leverages state-of-the-art generative machine learning to discover novel, efficacious, safe and synthesizable small molecules for customers in biopharmaceuticals. Founded in 2019, Variational AI performs multi-property molecular optimization to dramatically reduce the time to discover high-quality drug-like molecules with a higher probability of success in clinical trials. variational.ai

About adMare BioInnovations:
adMare BioInnovations is Canada’s Global Life Sciences Venture, building the Canadian life sciences industry from sea to sea. We do this by sourcing therapeutically and commercially promising research from leading academic and biotech partners to create new companies of scale, providing specialized expertise and infrastructure to help existing companies scale up, and driving the growth of those companies into Canadian anchors by training the next generation of highly-qualified personnel. admarebio.com

About Digital Technology Supercluster:
The Digital Technology Supercluster is led by global companies such as MDA, Microsoft, Telus, Teck Resources Limited, Mosaic Forest Management, LifeLabs and Terramera, and tech industry leaders such as D-Wave Systems, Finger Food Advanced Technology Group, and LlamaZOO. Members also include BC’s post-secondary institutions such as Emily Carr University of Art + Design, British Columbia Institute of Technology, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. A full list of Members can be found here.

About the COVID-19 Program:
The COVID-19 Program funds projects that contribute to improving the health and safety of Canadians, supporting Canada’s ability to address issues created by the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, these projects will build expertise and capacity to address and anticipate issues that may arise in future health crises. More information can be found here.

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