UK Research Partners Secure £1M Innovation Boost for Novel Deep Learning Drug Discovery Platform

September 19, 2018

UK companies Optibrium and Intellegens and the UK's Medicines Discovery Catapult have secured a grant from Innovate UK to fund a £1 million project to create software to improve the efficiency and productivity of drug discovery.

The project's aim is to harness the power of AI to learn from complex data and guide scientists in the design and testing of potential new drugs. Drug discovery generates a huge quantity of complex biological, chemical, clinical and safety information that needs to be collected, analysed and presented in a way that it can be best used to make evidence-based decisions.

The research partners are seeking a means of providing better insights into how a drug interacts with the body, improving the efficiency and productivity of drug discovery. The project will use novel deep learning methods to create a next generation platform that will better predict the absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADMET) of new drug candidates.

Building on Optibrium’s existing software offering (StarDropTM) and an Intellegens’ deep learning toolkit (AlchemiteTM), the project will develop and apply novel AI methods across ADMET. By developing DeepADMET technology the aim is to improve the scope and reliability of drug design parameters, currently inaccessible or unavailable, for the first time.

Professor John Overington, Chief Informatics Officer of the Medicines Discovery Catapult, commented: “At Medicines Discovery Catapult we apply innovation, working alongside UK SMEs to drive the development and adoption of new approaches for the discovery and early development of new medicines. This collaborative R&D activity will allow us to do just that and the grant from Innovate UK represents an important milestone for the advancement of informatics and data science.”