• Tuesday, Aug 04, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:42 pm

AI-created drug to enter human trials for first time

  • Published at 10:53 pm February 2nd, 2020
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The drug molecule, known as DSP-1181, was invented using algorithms that screened and filtered through hundreds of possible compounds, checking them against a vast database of parameters

The first drug designed entirely using artificial intelligence is entering clinical human trials in what has been described as a major milestone in medicine, BBC reports.

The drug molecule, known as DSP-1181, was invented using algorithms that screened and filtered through hundreds of possible compounds, checking them against a vast database of parameters.

The new compound, which has been designed for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, was discovered using Oxford-based biotech company Exscientia's AI system.

Japan's Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma partnered with Exscientia to use the platform, which automatically analyses patients' genetic data and finds molecules that could be used in new medication. 

To get a drug to this stage of development would normally take around four and a half years, but using the AI-tools, it took less than 12 months.

Exscienta Chief Executive Prof Andrew Hopkins described it as a “key milestone in drug discovery.”

He told the BBC: “We have seen AI for diagnosing patients and for analysing patient data and scans, but this is a direct use of AI in the creation of a new medicine.”

The first drug will enter phase one trials in Japan which, if successful, will be followed by more global tests.

Exscienta is already exploring the development of drugs to treat cancer and cardiovascular disease, and hopes to have another molecule ready for clinical trials by the end of 2020.

Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, who was not involved in the research, said: “I think AI has huge potential to enhance and accelerate drug discovery.

“I’m excited to see what I believe is the first example of a new drug now entering human clinical trials, that was created by scientists using AI in a major way to guide and speed up discovery.”

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