Iktos | December 09, 2021
Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design today announced recent collaboration agreement in AI for new drug design with Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd., a leading global pharmaceutical company based in China with a focus on research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of innovative and high-quality healthcare products. Under the agreement, Iktos’ de novo generative design software Makya™ will be used by Hengrui scientists to facilitate rapid and cost-effective design of novel compounds and accelerate hit-to-lead/lead optimisation for undisclosed Hengrui Pharma’s drug discovery programmes.
Iktos has released Makya™, a generative AI-driven de novo design software for Multi-Parametric Optimization (MPO), available either as a SaaS platform or for implementation on customer premises or in the customer’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Makya’s user-friendly interface enables it to be used by medicinal or computational chemists. Makya™ can also be operated as a Python package through a Jupyter notebook interface.
Iktos’ AI technology, based on deep generative models, helps bring speed and efficiency to the drug discovery process, by automatically designing virtual novel molecules that have desired activities for treating a given disease. This tackles one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid identification of molecules which simultaneously satisfy multiple bioactivity and drug-like criteria for drug discovery and development.
“Innovation is the core development strategy. Hengrui has a strong interest in exploring and utilizing enabling technologies, such as AI, to transform and accelerate the discovery of innovative medicines. We are excited about the opportunity to use Iktos’ proprietary AI platform to beef up our drug design and discovery capability to better address unmet clinical needs”.
Dr. Weikang Tao, Vice President of Hengrui Pharma and CEO of R&D Centers
"We are very pleased to collaborate with Hengrui Pharma, a leading global pharmaceutical company based in China. We are excited and proud to announce our first collaboration deal in China pharma sector and to have Hengrui Pharma scientists use our software in their early discovery programs", said Yann Gaston-Mathé, Co-founder and CEO of Iktos. "It is our ultimate goal to facilitate our technology usage by expert drug discovery scientists, who have deep knowledge and understanding of their discovery programs. This way, the promise of AI to dramatically improve drug discovery will have a better chance to be realized and impact therapeutic development. At Iktos, we strive to build an innovative technology platform capable of improving the efficiency of drug discovery by combining our powerful algorithmic technology, our know-how derived from the experience of the many collaborations we have established to date, and an intuitive and user-friendly user interface which is essential to an optimal user experience.”
Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a start-up company specializing in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, the design of molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis.
About Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd.
Jiangsu Hengrui Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. is a leading global pharmaceutical company based in China with a focus on research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of innovative and high-quality healthcare products. Innovation is the core development strategy. Hengrui Pharma has 8 innovative products marketed and more than 50 clinical-stage innovative candidates, of which 20 are currently under global clinical development. Hengrui Pharma ranked 21st among the top 1,000 global pharma companies announced by Torreya in 2020. Hengrui has been on the Pharma Exec’s annual listing of the top global pharmaceutical companies for the third consecutive year, rising from the 47th in 2019 to the 38th in 2021.
Merck | October 29, 2021
Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced that its Life Science business sector has launched new technology and expanded capacity to advance ADC therapies. These initiatives underscore Merck's continued investment in novel modalities and support the company's efforts to double its ADC and high-potent active pharmaceutical ingredient (HPAPI) capacity in the near future.
"ADCs have experienced remarkable growth, with commercially approved ADCs tripling in the past three yearsWe are a pioneer in this space, involved in 50 percent of the commercially approved ADCs on the market today. This latest innovation and additional capacity help bring novel treatments to cancer patients around the world and reinforce our commitment to shaping the future of these novel modalities.
Andrew Bulpin, head of Process Solutions, Life Science, at Merck
With the launch of its ChetoSensar™ technology, Merck is one of the front runners working to address the hydrophobicity of ADCs, in tandem with its CDMO services. Many ADC candidates have poor aqueous solubility and Merck estimates that more than 20 percent of ADC clinical terminations are caused by this issue. The company's new ChetoSensar™ technology improves ADC solubility, therefore giving hope to ADCs that were previously terminated.
The payloads commonly used for ADCs are highly-complex molecules that take many steps to synthesize. Based on Merck's calculations, its new DOLCORE™ platform significantly reduces the development and manufacturing time required, increasing speed-to-market for a novel Dolostatin-based ADC payload by up to a year.
In addition, the company will enhance the ADC capabilities of its clinical manufacturing facility in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, in December. This facility will provide larger footprint to enable large-scale production including chromatographic purification for early phase clinical supply. This follows last year's announcement of a €59 million expansion of Merck's facility near Madison, Wisconsin, USA, which will double its HPAPI kilo lab capacity and enable the company to expedite the manufacture of HPAPIs, ADC linker/payloads, and complex APIs.
This innovation and additional capacity support the company's ambition to accelerate growth through investments in the "Big Three," including the Process Solutions business unit within the Life Science business sector as a key driver.
With 15 years of experience developing and manufacturing ADCs, Merck offers unique CDMO services streamlined with a single, highly experienced provider. The company leverages its global network and deep expertise to tailor each molecule's unique journey, while creating the dynamic client partnerships drug manufacturers need to help reach their critical milestones. Merck integrates contract development and manufacturing with the industry's broadest product offering across multiple modalities. Customers can also seamlessly integrate BioReliance® services from the company's leading biosafety testing portfolio.
Merck recently announced expansion projects in Darmstadt, Germany; Cork, Ireland; Buchs, Switzerland; Carlsbad, California, USA; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Jaffrey, New Hampshire, USA; and Danvers, Massachusetts, USA. These expansions are part of an ambitious, multi-year program to increase the industrial capacity and capabilities of the Life Science business sector to support growing global demand for lifesaving medications and to make significant contributions to public health.
Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and electronics. Around 58,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people's lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2020, Merck generated sales of € 17.5 billion in 66 countries.
Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck's technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as EMD Serono in healthcare, MilliporeSigma in life science, and EMD Electronics.
Narrativa | May 19, 2021
Narrativa, which has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) medical writing platform to assist pharmaceutical firms in speeding up drug approval and lowering overall compliance costs, recently completed a $1.3 million funding round.
The Los Angeles-based firm currently uses its SaaS platform to automate the production of Clinical Study Reports (CSRs) and other regulatory reports for several pharmaceutical firms and other clinical research organizations (CROs).
The AI-writing assistant platform utilizes advanced Natural Language Generation (NLG) to process millions of data points from clinical trials and generate readable and understandable written medical narratives, improving accuracy and minimizing the time and expense of producing critical (and time-consuming) regulatory documents.
"The pharma industry has evolved as a result of the availability and quality of data from clinical trials, with the most significant impact on drug discovery. To detect trends, test hypotheses, and understand the effectiveness of treatments, pharmaceutical firms have often focused on empirical data. It's time to put artificial intelligence to work assisting medical authors in the development of regulatory documents "Narrativa's founder and CEO, David Llorente, says.
Pharmaceutical firms spend more than $1.5 billion on regulatory documentation, and it may take up to a year to complete the paperwork for FDA approval of a new drug. The amount of time taken on regulatory documentation significantly lengthens the time it takes for new drugs to reach the market.
Narrativa was established in 2015 with the idea that technology should be used to positively transform the world. Narrativa, named one of the most important companies in the field of NLG by Samsung, helps companies expand by anticipating trends and converting data into the human language in real-time. Narrativa creates automated content in a variety of areas, including finance, pharmaceuticals, insurance, media, and gaming, using its artificial intelligence system and machine learning experience.