AI preclinical research program targeting brain cancers starts at Insilico Medicine
New AI-powered discovery generative biology and generative chemistry effort targeting brain tumors with the focus on GBM launches at Insilico Medicine
Credit: Insilico Medicine
February 26th, 2020, 3:00 PM, London – Insilico Medicine has announced a new preclinical research program that will utilize its world-leading AI-driven target discovery and generative chemistry platform technology to accelerate the discovery of new medicines for Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). To help the company deliver this endeavour, George Okafo, PhD – a pharma industry expert and seasoned R&D scientist – will be joining the company as their Entrepreneur in Residence and will utilize Insilco’s generative biology and generative chemistry AI engines to discover novel targets and generate novel molecules for brain cancers.
Generative AI is an emerging technology in both chemistry and biology. Insilico Medicine has been working in these areas since 2015 and holds the critical intellectual property. According to recent opinions, drugs generated using AI may be classified as being invented by AI. Insilico published its first peer-reviewed papers in this area in 2016, multiple theoretical papers in 2017, and recently published several proofs of concept for JAK3 and DDR1 kinases with experimental validation. It recently generated and released a range of molecules targeting COVID-19 protease generated in 4 days. Generative biology technology for the target discovery is developed and utilized internally since 2015 and the first landmark experiments are expected to be published in 2020.
Today MIT Technology Review highlighted AI-discovered molecules as a breakthrough of the year and highlighted Insilico Medicine as one of the leaders in the field. ‘The ability of deep learning and other AI tools to find novel molecules with desirable properties will transform drug discovery. It promises to make the development of new medicines far faster and more effective, and is an important new tool in the hunt for better drugs.’ said David Rotman, Editor at Large.
Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD CEO/Co-founder of Insilico Medicine commented on the start of the brain cancer project, ‘Brain cancers are the worst diseases anyone can ever get and the most rare cancers are often overlooked because the efforts are expensive, the market is small, and the probability of failure is high. We will try to change this with our AI-powered drug discovery pipeline. We needed to have a seasoned big pharma veteran to drive this process to the point where it can be quickly developed and externalized. Dr. George Okafo, a seasoned drug hunter, will lead this effort. Our goal is to develop the project to the point where AI is no longer required, and externalize the research project by August 2020 to help patients in need quickly’.
GBM is the most severe and aggressive form of brain cancer in adults with a life expectancy of less than 3 years for the recurrent form of the disease. Globally, GBM affects 150,000 patients annually, with the annual growth rate expected to increase. In the US alone, 16,000 new cases are reported annually.
Current GBM standard-of-care involving chemo-radiation therapy is largely ineffective in the most advanced forms of the disease and often requires surgical intervention to remove the entire tumor. However, in many cases, the tumor returns more aggressively and resistant to therapy, if all the cancerous cells are not completely removed, ultimately resulting in death. The need for novel and importantly, rapid approaches for the discovery of new GBM medicines is vital and the Insilico Medicine’s entrance into this race is welcomed.
George Okafo, PhD commented ‘The problems posed by GBM are too complex and drug discovery is often too slow to solve using traditional approaches. When I came across Insilico Medicine’s platform several years ago, they were the only AI company that managed to do target discovery/small molecule generation in one go with the ability to rapidly sprint towards solving diseases. In my new capacity, I am excited to be able to utilize their platform to start a new disease program from scratch with the objective of licensing it out to a big pharma partner or taking it into clinic myself’
Insilico Medicine will be using its world-leading AI-based drug discovery platform to design novel molecules for the most difficult targets. They have proven their technology for targets in oncology, autoimmunity, CNS, Fibrosis, Hair loss and Bacterial Film infections. Recently, their AI platform executed an entire drug discovery cycle in 21 days. This new AI-driven drug discovery partnership aims to reproduce this effort for GBM utilizing the latest generative chemistry platform technology and an expert GBM scientific network to explore completely novel mechanistic biology space to look for new drugs for GBM. The end result will be a comprehensive, high-quality drug candidate data package for GBM.
‘Over the past several years we developed and integrated an end-to-end drug discovery platform that is tangibly accelerating the many R&D processes. The many elements of this platform were battle-tested in many collaborations. Here we can use the entire platform to race for a cure. And we have one of the top experts in the field to navigate this process from start to finish’, said Alex Aliper, PhD, co-founder and president of Insilico Medicine.
The race is on and Insilico Medicine is ready to go to discover medicines for GBM patients, where current therapeutic options are limited.
About Insilico Medicine
Insilico Medicine is an artificial intelligence company with offices in six countries and regions striving to accelerate three areas of drug discovery and development: disease target identification, generation of novel molecules (generative chemistry) and synthetic biological data (generative biology), and prediction of clinical trial outcomes. The Company was the first to apply the generative adversarial networks (GANs) and reinforcement learning (RL) to generate new molecular structures with the specified parameters in 2015. In addition to collaborating with large pharmaceutical companies, Insilico Medicine is also pursuing internal drug discovery programs in different disease areas.