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Drug discovery project success for Optibrium and Intellegens

DeepADMET is a drug discovery success for Optibrium and Intellegens
DeepADMET is a drug discovery success for Optibrium and Intellegens

The DeepADMET project – set up to advance drug discovery by a consortium including Cambridge-based Optibrium and Intellegens – has reached a successful conclusion.

Joining the two Cambridge companies was Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC), the UK’s catapult centre for medicine research and innovation: the consortium was funded by Innovate UK.

The plan was to harness the power of AI for drug discovery and develop a next-generation software platform supporting the design of new drug candidates. In collaboration with global pharma and biotech companies, the consortium demonstrated the ability of its new AI platform, Cerella, to identify compounds with improved ‘on target’ properties more efficiently and was proven to reduce costs and shorten discovery cycle times.

The culmination of the project has been the release of Cerella, which leverages Intellegens’ unique Alchemite deep learning algorithm, custom-tailored by the joint research team to the specificities of drug discovery data. The platform complements current drug discovery processes, improving efficiency and productivity by extracting additional value from drug discovery data to make more accurate predictions of compounds’ activity and absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity (ADMET) properties.

Based on these predictions, it prioritises experimental efforts and increases confidence in decisions. Cerella combines on-premises deployment with cloud computing, providing both data security and scalability and, by connecting directly with a corporate data repository, it automatically updates predictions using the latest data.

Matthew Segall, CEO at Optibrium. Picture: Onur Pinar
Matthew Segall, CEO at Optibrium. Picture: Onur Pinar

Matthew Segall, CEO at Optibrium, said: “We appreciate the support received from Innovate UK, enabling us to advance the development of our AI platform, Cerella.

“As proven by several case studies, Cerella fills a critical need in modern drug discovery, with collaborators’ research and development teams eager to exploit its capacity to accelerate their discovery of novel breakthrough treatments.

“We are grateful for Innovate UK’s initiatives that enable collaborations like ours, and will continue to work with Intellegens and MDC to further the UK’s role in drug discovery.”

Cerella will lead to better-targeted medicines, according to Karen Spink, innovation lead of precision medicine at Innovate UK.

She said: “The digital and AI revolution will lead to faster and smarter ways of discovering and developing safe and effective drugs.

Ben Pellegrini, CEO at Intellegens. Picture: Keith Heppell
Ben Pellegrini, CEO at Intellegens. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Applying the diverse expertise within the DeepADMET project consortium, unique solutions to the predictive modelling of drug candidates have been delivered through the Cerella platform. Advancements in this exciting area of innovation will ultimately deliver better-targeted medicines, with an optimised safety profile, more quickly to the patient.”

Ben Pellegrini, CEO at Intellegens, which designs better formulations using deep learning for sparse and noisy data, said: “Through this collaborative project, we have validated the underlying science with some of the biggest pharma companies in the world, and more importantly, wrapped it up in a robust, deployable platform.

“We look forward to building on this technology and continuing our collaboration with Optibrium.”

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