Isomorphic Labs partners with pharmaceutical firms for AI-driven drug discovery


London-based AI startup Isomorphic Labs, which concentrates on drug discovery and emerged from Google’s DeepMind division in 2021, has revealed partnerships with two prominent pharmaceutical firms. These collaborations, worth approximately $3 billion, include initiatives to address various illnesses potentially. By joining forces with these industry-leading pharmaceutical companies, Isomorphic Labs aims to leverage its groundbreaking AI technology to revolutionize the process of drug development and enhance the overall effectiveness of treatments. Through these partnerships, the firm seeks to accelerate the discovery of novel therapeutics, ultimately improving patient outcomes and contributing to advancements in global healthcare. Isomorphic Labs has obtained initial payments of $45 million and $37.5 million from these partners and may receive up to $1.7 billion and $1.2 billion more based on performance-related milestones.

Isomorphic Labs and AlphaFold

Established by CEO Demis Hassabis, Isomorphic Labs is behind AlphaFold, an AI system that predicts human protein structures and allows researchers to find potential new drug target pathways. This groundbreaking technology has garnered significant attention in the scientific and medical communities for its potential impact on drug discovery and development. With the additional funding from its partners, Isomorphic Labs aims to accelerate advancements in this AI-driven research, ultimately contributing to breakthroughs in understanding and treating a wide range of diseases.

These diseases include revolutionizing protein research. Conventional protein structure analysis can take years of hands-on work, whereas AlphaFold can produce predictions in just days. Using the AlphaFold 2 model, Isomorphic and DeepMind recently created and synthesized a novel drug to treat hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer.

Financial impact and faster drug development

According to Hassabis, these partnerships provide a “compelling” mix of innovative drug design techniques and cutting-edge science, potentially alleviating financial stress on Isomorphic Labs, which experienced a $2.4 million loss in 2021. This collaboration aims to accelerate the drug development process, making it more cost-effective and yield faster results for patients suffering from these neglected diseases.

Fiona Marshall, president of biomedical research at one of the partnering firms, believes AlphaFold has the potential to transform drug discovery and expedite the creation of new, life-saving treatments by combining AI, data science, medicinal chemistry, and disease research expertise.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Sofia Marquet; Pexels

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.


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