AI Startup Opens Data To Accelerate Coronavirus Drug Development
Hong Kong-based AI startup Insilico Medicine has opened its database with research on drug components for other companies worldwide, to accelerate the development for the drug agains coronavirus, reported South China Morning Post on February 17.
Co-founder of Insilico Medicine Alex Zhavoronkov shared that the company had opened the information, so companies could develop a molecule that targets this new disease:
“Our approach is more long term, aiming for a dedicated molecule for that virus. When people learn to trust our algorithm, they will be willing to put resources on the molecules’ synthesis and tests”
In his opinion, it will take at lease a year to develop a vaccine against Covid-19, or coronavirus, but AI can help to design it more quickly, if companies trust the algorithm, which is impossible without opening the data.
Zhavoronkov also count on non-profit research institutions to benefit from the information shared, like Canadian computer scientist Alán Aspuru-Guzik that has already agreed to take part in the further research.
Earlier Insilico Medicine’s algorithm has already generated drug components that were previously not known to medical chemists, thanks to deep reinforcement learning. Now these new components need to be synthesised and tested.
According to South China Morning Post, company has already raised $52 million in venture capital, and signed a deal with Jiangsu Chia Tai Fenghai Pharmaceutical for $200 million, and with Pfizer for undisclosed amount.
As Future Time previously reported, disinfection and medical delivery robots also help to combat coronavirus outbreak, with several Chinese robot manufacturers donating the robots to the local hospitals. Other new technologies, like blockchain, help to claim damages, without a need for face-to-face interactions.
Image credit: BioTechScope