Insilico Medicine Proves that New Drugs can be Discovered through Artificial Intelligence

LongeVC portfolio company Insilico Medicine has pioneered the way to use artificial intelligence (AI) to fight diseases faster and more successfully. It is the first time in history that a company is using AI to generate new drugs based on innovative chemistry that previously did not exist to fight disease - idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Alex Zhavoronkov, founder and the CEO of the company Insilico Medicine, says that there are 30,000 diseases out there - unsolved and unchecked. Insilico Medicine is using artificial intelligence to understand the mechanisms of such diseases, deconvolute these mechanisms into individual targets, design small molecules and disable those targets. Recent experimental data shows that this is the first time in history when new novel targets are being identified with the help of AI in the form of molecules that are responsible for a very broad spectrum of diseases. It means that it is possible to identify a lead candidate and send it for clinical studies in a short amount of time. This is also the first case of AI to provide a complete candidate discovery cycle ready for clinical validation.

Insilico Medicine has discovered a novel preclinical candidate addressing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). This is a rare, progressive illness of the respiratory system, characterized by the thickening and stiffening of lung tissue, associated with the formation of scar tissue. The disease could result in the irreversible decline of pulmonary functioning.

“Finding the right target for the right disease is extremely difficult. It is especially difficult for the targets that we can refer to as novel. This means that previously there have not been any publications linking those targets to diseases. It is very difficult, but possible with AI. We did it in this case for IPF with the system we have developed called PandaOmics. It is possible to prioritize a list of novel targets in the system with very little prior information and to choose the right target to pursue. We know that if we solve fibrosis in the lung and figure out how to control it, we can fix a very substantial problem. After identifying the correct target we could move on to designing a highly effective novel molecule to take on lung fibrosis directly,” says Alex Zhavoronkov.

Once the novel target is discovered, it is necessary to check if it works. Usually this is done by knocking off the gene in the experimental system, but this is not efficient. It is much better to validate it using a real small molecule drug that later on will possibly be used on humans. This used to take a lot of time and money.

“We developed another AI that can very quickly generate novel chemistry that does not exist and is previously unheard of. We call it Chemistry42 and it helps to imagine novel molecules from scratch. Chemistry42 is an AI based platform that utilizes more than 30 generative models making it possible to generate really perfect molecules with the desired properties and then filter them down to those that are easy to make and which satisfy necessary properties. Usually it takes approximately 13.5 years from target discovery to market and costs about USD 2.6 billion. It took us 18 months and cost USD 2.6 million,” says Alex Zhavoronkov.

“We are proud to be the early investors of Insilico Medicine and AI movement backers in general. We highly appreciate and welcome all the new initiatives of the Insilico team in making the world a better place,” says Garri Zmudze, Managing Partner at LongeVC.

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About Insilico Medicine
Insilico Medicine develops software that leverages generative models, reinforcement learning (RL), and other modern machine learning techniques for the generation of new molecular structures with specific properties. Insilico Medicine also develops software for the generation of synthetic biological data, target identification, and the prediction of clinical trials outcomes. The company integrates two business models; providing AI-powered drug discovery services and software through its Pharma.AI platform and developing its own pipeline of preclinical programs. The preclinical program is the result of pursuing novel drug targets and novel molecules discovered through its platforms. Since its inception in 2014, Insilico Medicine has raised over $52 million and received multiple industry awards. Insilico Medicine has also published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and has applied for over 25 patents.

About LongeVC
LongeVC is an investment group, specialising in curating, facilitating and executing early stage venture investments in the fields of biotech and longevity. Current investment portfolio of LongeVC includes Insilico Medicine, a global leader in AI-driven drug discovery, Longenesis, an end-to-end collaborative biotech research enabler, Basepaws, the first comprehensive DNA sequencing solution for pets, as well as other biotech industry-specific companies. With its latest exit, LongeVC has announced the creation of its first official early-stage investment fund, focused on biotech and longevity opportunities, with backing from the most prominent advisory board in the longevity industry.
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