The drug, called INS018_055, was developed by Insilico Medicine, a US-Chinese biotechnology company, to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a rare chronic lung disease.
The first drug generated and discovered by generative artificial intelligence (AI), which is in phase 2 clinical trials, has been successfully administered to a human.
The drug, called INS018_055was developed by Insilico Medicine, a US-Chinese biotechnology company, to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a rare chronic lung disease.
“This medicine, which will be administered orally, will undergo the same rigorous tests, to ensure its efficacy and safety, that are applied to traditionally discovered medicines,” explained the company’s CEO, Alex Zhavoronkov, in an interview. to Fox, noting that the “discovery process and design are incredibly new.”
AI is capable of crunching vast amounts of data to quickly identify drug targets, such as proteins in the body associated with particular diseases, and molecules that can be turned into drugs.
In the research, Insilico used the aforementioned technology both to discover a new drug for IPF and to generate a new molecule that could act on it. “AI allows us to analyze massive amounts of data and find connections that human scientists might miss, and then ‘imagine’ entirely new molecules that can be turned into drugs,” Zhavoronkov explained.
Alternative to current therapies
He also stated that his firm’s AI platforms could cut in half the time it takes to discover drugs and the cost of bringing them to market. “Our company […] can double the productivity of almost all large pharmaceutical companies,” he said.
On the other hand, he stated that the company’s studies “have indicated that INS018_055 has the potential to address some of the limitations of current therapies” to combat IPF. “There are very few options for people with this terrible condition, and the prognosis is poor: most die within two to five years of diagnosis,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, in phase 2 trials, Insilico will enroll 60 people with IPF in China and the US to assess the drug’s safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy. “If our Phase IIa study is successful, the drug will move to Phase IIb with a larger cohort of participants,” said Sujata Rao, the firm’s chief medical officer.