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Insilico Medicine Utilizes Robots in Drug Discovery Programs

Pharma.AI is an end-to-end AI-driven drug discovery system created by Insilico Medicine. The system gains its strength from the quantity and quality of its data.

Insilico Medicine Utilizes Robots in Drug Discovery Programs.

Image Credit: Gorodenkoff

Dr. Michael Levitt, a scientific advisory board member at Insilico and a Nobel Prize laureate in chemistry, stated that Insilico’s platform makes the most of artificial intelligence (AI) to take massive volumes of data from several different components and discover patterns and make estimates that can guide the way to novel life-saving medicines.

Insilico, founded in 2014, started developing its system, using a huge repository of data. PandaOmics™, the target discovery portion of Pharma.AI, utilizes 1.9 trillion data points taken from more than 10 million samples (such as RNA sequencing, microarrays, and proteomes) and more than 40 million documents (including patents, publications, grants, and clinical trial reports).

Insilico follows federal grant money from preliminary experiments to clinical trials, manually inputting when needed, comprising trillions in total. PandaOmics can, at present, not only detect totally new targets for drugs but can also estimate which targets will likely be “hot” in 5 years.

Improving AI with CROs and Pharma Partners

One of the methods that Insilico uses to enhance its system is by collaborating with more than 80 contract research establishments that carry out redundant experiments and develop reproducible data sets.

The company handles 30 internal therapeutic programs in different stages of development and is presenting preclinical candidates at a record pace. It identified eight preclinical candidates since 2021, including one for COVID-19 and two for cancer in the last few months, and its top candidate for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is presently in Phase 1 trials, the first AI-discovered and AI-developed drug to realize this breakthrough.

Insilico has also increased its partnerships with pharma via co-development and software licensing deals. Since the introduction of PandaOmics™ and Chemistry42™ in late 2020, nine out of the 20 leading pharmaceutical companies, as measured by 2020 revenue, have licensed Insilico’s AI systems.

Insilico struck multi-asset partnerships with Fosun Pharma and EQRX in January and March 2022, respectively. Remarkably, Insilico accomplished its first significant milestone and selected a preclinical candidate for the QPCTL program for cancer immunotherapy less than 40 days into the strategic partnership with Fosun Pharma.

Next Step: Robots

At present, Insilico targets to make its end-to-end AI system more robust by opening its own AI-operated robotics lab. The lab has been in the design phase over the past 2 years and is anticipated to be completely operational this year.

It is a real-world interconnected development of Insilico’s drug discovery system and will be operated remotely by its AI platform with autonomous guided vehicles conducting experiments instead of human scientists. These robots will carry out next-generation sequencing, cell culture, cell imaging, high throughput screening, and genomics investigation and prediction.

As the robots produce data, that data will be transmitted directly into the PandaOmics system, enhancing the system’s target hypotheses and ability to corroborate those hypotheses.

These robots are faster and more precise than humans. And as they perform experiments they feed the AI system with data, improving the system’s target hypotheses and ability to validate those hypotheses.

Alex Zhavoronokov, PhD., Medicine Founder and CEO, Insilico Medicine

It is all part of the company’s aim to enhance and corroborate its system, driving its top candidate to Phase 2 trials, and further designing its many therapeutic programs. In recent times, Insilico has received further funding in a $60m Series D round from top biotech investors, including Warburg Pincus, BHR Partners, B Capital Group, BOLD Capital Partners, Qiming Venture Partners, and Pavilion Capital.

We plan to continue expanding the breadth of the pipeline and enhance our AI and robotics capabilities globally. Our rapidly growing team is composed of talented and experienced scientists in drug discovery with diverse backgrounds and relentless passion for novelty and innovation, and fully committed to developing novel drugs with a sense of urgency for the waiting patients.

Feng Ren, PhD., Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Global Research and Development, Insilico Medicine

Feng Ren has 15 years of experience working in large pharmaceutical companies and CROs.

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