Artificial intelligence has mastered the full cycle of drug development
Rare and dangerous diseases will soon no longer pose a threat, AI-designed drugs are already in full swing in clinical trials on humans.
The drug, codenamed “INS018_055”, was developed by a Hong Kong biotech company. Insilico Medicine, which specializes in the discovery and design of new molecules using AI. The main goal of drug development is the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic disease in which scars form in the lungs.
In recent decades, this disease has become more and more widespread. In the United States alone, about 100,000 people currently suffer from it. And if left untreated, death can occur within two to five years.
“This is the first fully AI-developed drug to reach human clinical trials, namely phase II patient trials,” said Alex Zhavoronkov, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine. Although there are other AI-designed drugs currently in clinical trials, according to Zhavoronkov, AI put much more of its “software efforts” into their drug.
Zhavoronkov said that Insilico Medicine researchers chose pulmonary fibrosis, in part, because of its association with aging, but the company has two more drugs, partly created with the help of AI, also in clinical trials.
One of these drugs is an anti-coronavirus in phase I clinical trials, and the other is an anti-cancer drug “USP1 inhibitor for the treatment of solid tumors”, which was also recently approved. FDA at the start of clinical trials.
“When this company first started, we were focused on algorithms — developing technology that could discover and design new molecules,” Zhavoronkov said. “I never imagined in those days that I would be testing AI-designed drugs in clinical trials on patients.”
If the current phase II study is successful, it will move on to another study with a larger cohort of subjects, and then potentially reach phase III studies with hundreds of participants.
“We expect to have results from the current phase II study next year,” Zhavoronkov said, adding that it is difficult to predict the exact timing for future phases, especially given that the disease is relatively rare and patients must meet certain criteria.
Zhavoronkov added: “We are optimistic that this medicine will be ready to enter the market and reach patients who can really benefit from it in the coming years.”