InSilico Makes Advances in Artificial Intelligence for Drug Discovery

The ETC (Emerging Technology Centers) has announced major advances in deep learning for pharmaceutical R&D made by one of their member companies located at its ETC Eastern Campus since February 2014. In the course of one week, the company announced the publication of two papers demonstrating proof of concept of applications of deep neural networks to drug discovery and repurposing in “Deep learning applications for predicting pharmacological properties of drugs and drug repurposing using transcriptomic data” in Molecular Pharmaceutics, one of the influential American Chemical Society journals, and biomarker development in “Deep biomarkers of human aging: Application of deep neural networks to biomarker development” in Aging, one of the highest-impact journals in aging research. 

“We are very happy to host innovative companies developing artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for practical applications in healthcare. I hope that AI solutions developed by Insilico Medicine, will help accelerate drug discovery and reduce the number of failures in clinical trials”, said Deb Tillett, President of the ETC. 

Over the past half century, pharmaceutical research and development process slowed down, while costs associated with bringing drugs to market increased due to high failure rates in clinical trials, regulatory issues and changing industry structure. New approaches are needed to accelerate discovery of novel compounds, evaluate their efficacy and safety and reduce failure rates. At every step of the pharmaceutical drug development process artificial intelligence holds a lot of promises. Advances in deep learning enabled artificially-intelligent systems surpass humans in image, voice and text recognition, autonomous driving and other tasks. But scarcity and variability of biomedical data and shortage of professionals with domain expertise in both deep learning and drug and biomarker discovery are impeding the propagation of AI into the pharmaceutical industry. Companies like Insilico Medicine are pioneering the field by developing and publishing practical applications of deep learning providing valuable insights into the future of the industry.

“ETC is a perfect place to start building a high-tech business in Baltimore. Being located at one of the campuses of one of the world’s greatest medical universities, access to premium facilities, services and experts in a variety of fields, 24-hour operation and high-speed Internet access make it a perfect control center for our global operations aiming at transforming the way we discover drugs and monitor their efficacy”, said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, CEO of Insilico Medicine, Inc. 

“Over the past 12 months our scientists published 21 research papers in peer-reviewed journals primarily focusing on bioinformatics of cancer and aging, but we are most proud of our two papers on deep learning published last week. And these papers are just the tip of the iceberg of what we have internally and what is being developed. Advances in deep learning changed our company from a service provider catering to pharmaceutical companies into a drug discovery company with almost a thousand compounds with efficacy, toxicity and other predicted parameters and soon we will be announcing our first partnership deals”, said Qingsong Zhu, PhD, COO of Insilico Medicine, Inc.

In addition to the articles being published in Molecular Pharmaceutics and Aging, Insilico’s “Deep learning applications for predicting pharmacological properties of drugs and drug repurposing using transcriptomic data” was selected as Editor’s Choice in the American Chemical Society Publication.

About Insilico Medicine 
Insilico Medicine, Inc. is a bioinformatics company located at the Emerging Technology Centers Campus located at the Johns Hopkins University at Eastern in Baltimore with R&D resources in Belgium, Russia and Poland hiring talent through hackathons and competitions. It utilizes advances in genomics, big data analysis and deep learning for in silico drug discovery and drug repurposing for aging and age-related diseases. The company pursues internal drug discovery programs in cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, sarcopenia and geroprotector discovery. Through its Pharma.AI division the company provides advanced machine learning services to biotechnology, pharmaceutical and skin care companies. Brief company video: 

About ETC (Emerging Technology Centers) 
The ETC, a venture of the Baltimore Development Corporation, is a 501(c) (3) technology and innovation center focused on growing early-stage companies. The ETC provides three programs for entrepreneurs: a tech focused incubator, Incubate Baltimore, a seed accelerator program, Accelerate Baltimore and a coworking space open to innovative individuals and teams, Beehive Baltimore. The ETC promotes economic development, providing business, technical, and networking connections to help these companies grow. Since 1999, the ETC has provided assistance to over 350 companies, 85% of which are still in business, creating more than 2,500 jobs and raising more than $2.2 Billion in outside funding.