When artificial intelligence turns into drugs

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    Finding a cure for dengue fever using artificial intelligence (AI)? This is a challenge recently launched by a European NGO, which has given AIK a real place in the field of medicine.

    The NGO Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, which seeks to treat neglected diseases, in April launched a partnership with Benevolent AI, a British company that works to create new molecules using artificial intelligence (AI). Not in BenevolentAI’s first attempt. He highlighted that during the epidemic, a molecule, baricitinib, developed by Eli Lilly Laboratory for another disease, could play a role in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

    Molecules from artificial intelligence

    One would think that AI is all the rage now. But the pharmaceutical sector has changed more than cosmetics. In early 2020, Exscientia, a Scottish start-up, created a first molecule with Sumitomo Dinippan, a Japanese pharmaceutical laboratory. “Built” By AI, access to clinical trials.

    “This is not the future: artificial intelligence is a systematic way of processing information, which can be used at various stages of the development process of the pharmaceutical industry.”Dr. Thomas Borel, director of scientific affairs at the Federation of Pharmaceutical Companies (LIM).

    A visit to the Paris premises of Iktos, a French start-up founded in 2016, helps us understand the changes of the era. Here, there are no microscopes or biological instruments, no lab technicians in white coats. But computer screens abound, which would transcend a huge chunk of health information at a speed that no human brain could reach.

    “The idea is to use existing data to get new interesting molecules, faster.”Explained by Ian Gaston-Mathe, leader of the start-up, which he co-founded in 2016.

    For this, his team used a worldwide database containing data from 100 million molecules. From this, “We have trained a model that will automatically generate new molecules and identify those that will be activated for biological purposes of interest.”Ian portrayed Gaston-Mathews.

    Iktos has even set up a platform for molecular research using artificial intelligence, which it offers in subscriptions to pharmaceutical companies.

    Aqemia, a start-up from the École Nationale supérieure-PSL created in 2019, is building a drug discovery platform using quantum-inspired statistical physics.

    We use so-called generative artificial intelligence. “Founder, researcher Maximilian Levesque underlined. “We invent molecules that are trapped in a specific biological target responsible for a disease. Artificial intelligence is fed by physics: we only need to know the physical nature of molecules and the purpose of calculating their composition.”He describes.

    Large laboratories find interest in it

    If start-ups are ahead, major laboratories are increasingly looking at the problem and paying the price. American giant Bristol-Myers Squibb signed a deal with ExxonMobil last year for which it could pay more than a billion dollars. Gaffam is also in the game: In 2019, Swiss Laboratory Novartis and Giant Microsoft have announced their collaboration in this regard.

    Is this the chemist’s end in his laboratory? There are big challenges with access to workable data. Future data experts in both artificial intelligence and pharmacology, without forgetting the need to find experts.

    There is also an important regulatory aspect, Judge Thomas Borel of Lim. “For example, we use AI to create a virtual arm for patients during a clinical trial. But in order to receive this drug, regulatory systems must recognize the value of the algorithm.”He said.

    “Drugs have been designed with the help of computers for years,” he said. Part of it is comments for Yann Gaston-Mathé, who says he wants to bring “Extra equipment for chemists, not wanting to replace people with instruments”.

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