BenevolentAI Identifies New IPF Treatment Target for AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca adds third IPF target from AI-enabled treatment discovery platform

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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BenevolentAI has identified a new treatment target for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) that will be added to AstraZeneca’s therapeutic discovery portfolio.

This is the third IPF target identified by the platform for the biopharmaceutical company following previous discoveries. Another AI-generated target for chronic kidney disease (CKD) was also identified and will be the second for the disease added to AstraZeneca’s portfolio. BenevolentAI will now receive two milestone payments for the two new targets.

“In order to deliver the next wave of life-changing medicines it is important we identify the right drug targets that can transform disease,” Mene Pangalos, PhD, executive vice-president of BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, said in a press release. “Our ongoing collaboration with BenevolentAI is helping us to uncover novel rare variants of complex diseases, such as IPF and CKD. By combining the power of AI with human expertise we are bringing new drug targets into our portfolio.”

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A total of five targets have been selected to date using BenevolentAI’s platform, opening the possibility for future development milestones and sales-based royalty revenues for the company.

“We are pleased that AstraZeneca has selected a further two novel targets from our collaboration to enter its portfolio,” said Joanna Shields, CEO at BenevolentAI.

BenevolentAI’s artificial intelligence-driven drug discovery platform is powered to analyze large sources of biomedical information, including data from clinical trials, patents, genetics, proteins, and medicines.

By crossing information from different sources, the system has the potential to boost the speed at which therapies are developed. For example, it may help understand if molecules that have failed in previous clinical studies for a particular disease may prove effective for other illnesses, or it may lead to the development of new molecules based on existing data.

The collaboration, established in 2019, was expanded last January for an additional three years to include two new diseases: heart failure and systemic lupus erythematosus.

“These milestones provide repeated validation of BenevolentAI’s drug discovery Platform, which has demonstrated significant momentum in identifying novel targets across a range of therapeutic indications,” said Shields. “We look forward to further successes in our collaboration.”

According to the release, the collaboration benefits from having scientists and technologists from both companies working side-by-side, allowing them to inquiry about disease mechanisms and test their hypotheses to find promising therapeutic targets.

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