AstraZeneca, BenevolentAI Identify New Treatment Target

Yedida Y Bogachkov PhD avatar

by Yedida Y Bogachkov PhD |

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AstraZeneca has added a novel target for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) to its portfolio, which was uncovered using BenevolentAI’s artificial intelligence-driven medication discovery platform.

“The cause of IPF is largely unknown and the exact mechanisms involved in the progression of IPF remain elusive,” Anne Phelan, PhD, chief scientific officer of BenevolentAI, said in a press release.

The collaboration between the two companies “uses advanced AI [artificial intelligence] to enable expert scientists to navigate this challenging disease landscape, and discover novel targets with the potential to treat the underlying causes and prevent disease progression,” Phelan added.

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BenevolentAI’s AI-driven drug discovery platform — known as the BenevolentAI platform — mines and analyzes large amounts of biomedical information, such as data on clinical trials, diseases, genes, proteins, and medicines, to propose and explore previously unknown relationships in a more effective way.

The system can potentially increase the speed at which therapies are developed by, for example, identifying molecules that have failed in previous clinical studies and predicting whether these therapies could work for other diseases, or by designing new molecules based on existing data.

“This second, important milestone in our collaboration with AstraZeneca is further evidence of how our Platform can deliver tangible scientific results in the most complex therapeutic areas,” Phelan said.

This is the second target from the collaboration between BenevolentAI and AstraZeneca that has been identified, validated, and selected for AstraZeneca’s portfolio. The first was a novel chronic kidney disease target. That collaboration was announced in 2019 and is focused on uncovering potential new treatments for IPF and chronic kidney disease.

The collaboration takes advantage of having scientists and technologists from both companies working together, combining BenevolentAI platform with the biomedical knowledge and expertise of AstraZeneca.

According to the press release, BenevolentAI and AstraZeneca recently won the “Best Partnership Alliance” category at the Scrip Awards in recognition of their successful collaboration. This award honors the industry’s highest achieving partnerships, focusing on those that are most mutually beneficial, have the most potential, and are the most innovative in their structure.

“Our ongoing collaboration with BenevolentAI has enabled us to leverage the world’s available scientific literature and our in-house experiments, all brought together through machine learning to identify previously unrecognised links,” said Maria Belvisi, PhD, senior vice president and head of research and early development, respiratory and immunology at AstraZeneca.

“I’m proud that this collaboration has delivered the first artificial intelligence driven IPF target to AstraZeneca’s portfolio,” Belvisi added.

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