ktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design today announced collaboration agreement in AI for new drug design with Chiesi Group, the international research-focused pharmaceutical and healthcare. Under the agreement, Iktos’s de novo generative design software Makya™ will be used by Chiesi scientists to facilitate rapid and cost-effective design of novel compounds and accelerate hit-to-lead/lead optimisation for undisclosed Chiesi’s drug discovery programmes.
Iktos has released Makya™, a generative AI-driven de novo design software for Multi-Parametric Optimization available either as a SaaS platform or for implementation on customer premises or in the customer’s Virtual Private Cloud. 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.
“Licensing Makya is another step Chiesi wanted to complete in digitalization of R&D and in particular in drug discovery. The possibility of applying cutting edge AI technology relying on our internal expertise and historical data to drug design is very appealing. We think this emerging technology will become soon part of the compound design toolkit for all medicinal chemists, to facilitate their work aimed at identifying the right molecule”.
Maurizio Civelli, Head of Global Research and Pre-Clinical Development Area of Chiesi Group
“We are proud to work with Chiesi Farmaceutici, one of the top 50 pharmaceutical companies in the world, and to have their 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 put our technology in the hands of drug discovery scientists, who have deep knowledge and understanding of their discovery programs. By combining their drug discovery expertise with our algorithmic and data science know-how and experience derived from the many collaborations we have established to date, we believe that the promise of AI to dramatically improve drug discovery will have a better chance to be realized and impact therapeutic development”.
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 Chiesi Group
Based in Parma, Italy, Chiesi is an international research-focused pharmaceutical and healthcare group with over 85 years’ experience, operating in 30 countries with more than 6,000 employees. To achieve its mission of improving people’s quality of life by acting responsibly towards society and the environment, the Group researches, develops and markets innovative therapeutic solutions in its three focus areas: AIR (products and services that promote respiration, from new-born to adult populations), RARE and CARE. The Group’s Research and Development centre is based in Parma and works alongside six other important research and development hubs in France, the U.S., Canada, China, the UK and Sweden to pursue its pre-clinical, clinical and regulatory programmes. In 2018 Chiesi changed its legal status to Benefit Corporation, according to the law in Italy, the USA and, more recently, in France, by incorporating common benefit objectives into its bylaws, to generate value for its business, for the society and the environment. Since 2019, Chiesi has been the world’s largest B Corp certified pharmaceutical group. B Corps are global leaders committed to using business as a force for good. Moreover, as a Benefit Corporation, Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A. is required by law to report annually in a transparent way about its progress in achieving the common benefits objectives it has incorporated. The Group is committed to becoming carbon neutral by the end of 2035.