PsychoGenics Appoints Dr. Stephen Morairty as Vice President, Translational Neuroscience and Jean-Sebastien Valois as Vice President, Engineering and AI Development
PsychoGenics Inc. announced the appointment of Stephen Morairty, Ph.D., as Vice President of Translational Neuroscience and Jean-Sebastien Valois, MSc, as Vice President of Engineering and AI Development. These key leadership roles support PsychoGenics as it grows its preclinical CRO and drug discovery operations, including novel technology platforms called SmartCube®, PhenoCube®, NeuroCube® and eCube™.
Dr. Morairty brings over 30 years of research and drug development experience focusing on translational neuroscience and EEG biomarkers. For the last 22 years he was at SRI International, most recently as Senior Director, leading collaborative efforts with industry on preclinical drug development through their Center for Neuroscience. He has collaborated with over 30 companies across broad indications including neurodegeneration (Alzheimer’s disease and narcolepsy), neuropsychiatry (bipolar disorder and schizophrenia) and neurodevelopmental disorders (autism).
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Morairty to lead our expanding translational neuroscience team,” said Dr. Emer Leahy, President and CEO of PsychoGenics. “His experience, creativity and knowledge will be invaluable as we expand our EEG group and integrate eCube™, our AI-based EEG screening platform, into our partnered and internal drug discovery efforts. I am confident Stephen will make immediate contributions to the company’s success and add tremendous value to the PsychoGenics drug pipeline, our clients and collaborators, and the millions of patients in need of additional treatment options.”
Jean-Sebastien Valois joins PsychoGenics with over 25 years of artificial intelligence experience collaborating with world-class researchers and scientists at Uber, NASA, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Aurora Innovations. During his time at Uber and Aurora, he pioneered deep learning methods to further self-driving vehicle research. While at NASA he worked on the Space Vision System, an AI robotics-aid which provided precise payload localization data for astronauts’ docking modules on ISS and Shuttle missions. At CMU, he led teams of researchers on several successful Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiatives related to AI in robotics. Serendipitously, Mr. Valois was a member of the research collaboration between PsychoGenics and CMU to develop the original SmartCube® discovery platform from 2003 to 2005.
“We are excited to welcome Jean-Sebastien back to PsychoGenics where he will be responsible for leading our talented data team to develop the next generation of AI software to support our phenotypic drug discovery platforms and programs,” said Dr. Daniela Brunner, Chief Innovation Officer. “His industrial and academic career on the cutting-edge of artificial intelligence furthers our mission to employ our drug discovery engine to find and validate novel treatments for patients.”
About PsychoGenics’ AI–driven Drug Discovery
PsychoGenics’ proprietary, high-throughput platforms combine behavioral and physiological measures with developments in artificial intelligence to phenotypically discover drug candidates with potential utility across the spectrum of CNS disease indications. Using these platforms and other capabilities, PsychoGenics collects and analyzes multidimensional preclinical data of novel compounds and disease mouse model phenotypes, and employs proprietary machine learning algorithms to find new treatments. PsychoGenics has screened and optimized diverse and targeted libraries of compounds delivering thousands of hits from which numerous neuropsychiatric clinical drug candidates have emerged, the most advanced of which is SEP-363856 (Ulotaront), a novel treatment for schizophrenia now in Phase 3, discovered in partnership with Sunovion. PsychoGenics’ phenotypic drug discovery approach can significantly reduce the time and cost to reaching approved Investigational New Drug status, potentially resulting in the identification of a viable drug candidate from a few hundred analogs tested in lead optimization in just over a year. This compares favorably to most target-driven programs, which typically synthesize thousands of analogs over many years. Due to its target-agnostic nature, the approach has increased the probability of successfully finding drug candidates with novel first-in-class mechanisms of action and improved side effect profiles that are suitable for treating the symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders.
PsychoGenics Inc. and its discovery arm, PGI Drug Discovery LLC (collectively known as PsychoGenics), have pioneered the translation of rodent behavioral and physiological responses into robust, high-throughput and high-content phenotyping. PsychoGenics’ drug discovery platforms, SmartCube®, NeuroCube®, PhenoCube®, and eCube™ have been used in shared-risk partnerships with major pharma companies including Sunovion, Roche, and Karuna, resulting in the discovery of several novel compounds now in clinical trials or advanced preclinical development. PsychoGenics’ capabilities also include standard behavioral testing, electrophysiology, translational EEG, molecular biology, microdialysis, and quantitative immunohistochemistry. In addition, the company offers a variety of in-licensed transgenic mouse models that support research in areas such as Huntington’s disease, autism spectrum disorders, psychosis/schizophrenia, depression, PTSD, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, ALS, and seizure disorders.