In the face of growing agrochemical resistance and increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, how can artificial intelligence (AI) be harnessed to help lower the costs, failure rates and timelines associated with current agrochemical development cycles?

Drawing on case study evidence, we explore how deep learning techniques allow us to overcome many of these challenges.

Our presenters, George Lahm and Laurie Christianson, from FMC, along with Bailey Montefiore and Matt Segall, from Optibrium, share findings from their collaborative project on the application of the Alchemite™ deep learning imputation method, used in Optibrium’s Cerella™ platform, to compounds in the early stages of discovery.

Talking points will include how deep learning methods can:

  • More accurately predict complex experimental endpoints measured in whole organisms (plants and insects) that are challenging for predictive models
  • Save time and resources by focusing on the most valuable experiments to predict activities across a broad range of weed and pest species
  • Identify the best overall compounds based on limited information – and inform new compound selection

Meet the speakers

Image shows the participants of the power of AI applied to agrochemical bioactivity webinar.
Images shows Bailey Montefiore (far left), Matt Segall (middle left), George Lahm (middle right) and Laurie Christianson (far right).
Bailey Montefiore PhD
Senior Scientist in Cheminformatics, Optibrium

Bailey Montefiore holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Molecular Biology and Crystallography from Newcastle University. Following this, Bailey joined Imperial College London as a Research Associate. From 2018 onwards, Bailey has been working at Optibrium, initially as an Application Scientist and from 2021, as a Senior Scientist. She supports our customers in applying Cerella to a wide variety of chemical applications, helping them to integrate it into their workflows and obtain insights into their data.

Matthew Segall PhD
CEO, Optibrium

Matt has a Master of Science in computation from the University of Oxford and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge. As Associate Director at Camitro (UK), ArQule Inc. and then Inpharmatica, he led a team developing predictive ADME models and state-of-the-art intuitive decision-support and visualization tools for drug discovery. In January 2006, he became responsible for management of Inpharmatica’s ADME business, including experimental ADME services and the StarDrop software platform. Following acquisition of Inpharmatica, Matt became Senior Director responsible for BioFocus DPI’s ADMET division and in 2009 led a management buyout of the StarDrop business to found Optibrium.

George Lahm
Distinguished fellow, FMC

George is a Distinguished Fellow with FMC. He is an organic chemist with a forty-year career in agrochemical research. He has been a leader and inventor in the discovery of a variety of new products for insect control including the sodium channel blocker, indoxacarb, the ryanodine receptor activators Rynaxypyr® and Cyazypr® and the nematicide fluazaindolizine. These products are landmarks in the protection of food crops and demonstrate outstanding pest control, with high environmental and non-target safety.
George has been recognized with numerous awards including the AGROW Lifetime Achievement Award and the American Chemical Society’s International Award for Research in Agrochemicals.

Laurie Christianson
Senior R&D scientist, FMC

Laurie Christianson is a Senior R&D Scientist with FMC. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to FMC, she was a computational chemist and scientific data analyst in DuPont CR&D and Crop Protection. Her research interests include ligand-based data modelling and design, applications of machine learning to compound screening, and quantum chemistry applications in agrochemical research.

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