The UK’s innovation agency is backing research to develop artificial intelligence in drug discovery as part of a £1m project.
Innovate UK’s funding will facilitate the Medicines Discovery Catapult’s collaboration with software solutions company Optibrum and University of Cambridge spin-out Intellegens.
The companies will work together for the next two years, aiming to provide better insights into how a drug interacts with the body.
By homing in on Intellegens’ deep learning methods, the partners are hoping to create a next generation platform that will better predict the absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADMET) of new drug candidates.
Ben Pellegrini, chief executive of Intellegens, said: “Intellegens is extremely excited to be part of this collaboration and looks forward to applying our novel deep learning techniques to help build a next generation platform to improve the drug discovery process.”
The new platform will be based off of Optibrium’s StarDrop and will look to improve the scope and reliability of drug design parameters, currently inaccessible or unavailable, for the first time.
Matthew Segall, chief executive of Optibrium, said: “We will apply cutting edge deep learning methods and new data to address important challenges in drug optimisation.
“The funding from Innovate UK is important validation of our project team’s expertise and the impact it will have on the industry’s efficiency and productivity.”
Currently 90% of drugs fail somewhere between phase 1 trials to regulatory approval, which means pharmaceutical companies are often incurring high drug developmental costs, but this new initiative hopes to improve this.
Professor John Overington, chief informatics officer of the Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “At Medicines Discovery Catapult we apply innovation, working alongside UK SMEs to drive the development and adoption of new approaches for the discovery and early development of new medicines. This collaborative R&D activity will allow us to do just that and the grant from Innovate UK represents an important milestone for the advancement of informatics and data science.”