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26 Jul 2017

Artificial intelligence to discover drugs in a multi-year multimillion dollar deal

AI thought to have massive potential to reduce the cost associated with the discovery of new drugs.

Juvenescence has announced the launch of a joint venture with Insilico Medicine, a Baltimore-based company using artificial intelligence (AI) principally focusing on ageing and age-related diseases. The new joint venture, Juvenescence AI Limited (Juvenescence AI), will focus on developing a pipeline of new compounds licensed from Insilico Medicine and on building AI-driven tools for clinical development. This partnership will produce commercially attractive drugs for Juvenescence AI while validating Insilico Medicine’s innovative AI approach for drug discovery. Juvenescence made an undisclosed investment into Insilico Medicine simultaneously with the creation of the joint venture.

“We are very pleased to partner with Alex Zhavoronkov and his team at Insilico Medicine. AI is set to increase efficiencies in many sectors, something sorely needed in drug development as evidenced by the prolonged decline in the sector’s productivity. Insilico Medicine’s approach has massive potential to reduce the cost associated with the discovery of new drugs,” said Juvenescence’s Chairman, Jim Mellon. “We are excited by the potential for AI to streamline the longest and most costly portions of the drug development cycle: clinical trials. With Insilico Medicine’s help, we hope Juvenescence AI will both develop therapeutics that treat the diseases that plague all of us as we age and eventually treat the ageing process itself.”

The principals of Juvenescence, Jim Mellon, Dr Greg Bailey and Dr Declan Doogan, have extensive track records in drug development, company formation, and biotech investment. The Juvenescence executive and scientific team hopes to combine the classical drug development expertise earned through careers in the pharmaceutical industry and through their successful early investments in companies such as Medivation and Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, to bear on the new prospects presented by AI-assisted drug development. The team believes that advances in AI provide new avenues for clinical, regulatory and commercial success. Dr Doogan, the former Senior VP of Clinical Development at Pfizer and current Chairman of Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, said: “The application of AI techniques to drug discovery has enormous potential and could dramatically alter the way that we discover new drugs and define existing diseases. AI could decrease the cost and increase the speed with which we can bring new medicines to patients."

Juvenescence AI has agreed to license selected novel and repurposed compound families from Insilico Medicine on an ongoing basis, with the aim of developing therapies for both ageing itself and the diseases of ageing, such as diabetes, dementia, cancer, respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease, that increasingly burden our health systems as the world’s population continues to age.

“The team at Juvenescence AI has demonstrated extraordinary foresight in recognising that the anti-ageing sector is currently experiencing a period of rapid advance, with vast sums of capital set to flow into the sector in coming years. They have also recognised the potential of AI early and that it will play a key role in adding billions of healthy life years to the lives of people around the globe. We are eager to work with them to develop life-saving and life-extending drugs,” said Alex Zhavoronkov, Founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine and Chief of Artificial Intelligence of Juvenescence AI.

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