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Isomorphic Labs kick off 2024 with two pharma deals, as it teams up with Eli Lilly and Novartis

By Irish Pharmacist - 01st Feb 2024

Isomorphic Labs, a digital biology company with a mission to redefine drug discovery using the power of artificial intelligence (AI), has announced that it has entered into strategic research collaboration partnerships with Eli Lilly and Novartis.

Isomorphic Labs is focused on using the power of AI to fight various diseases and may receive up to $3 billion from the research collaborations.

DeepMind spin-out Isomorphic Labs was created in 2021 to build on the success of AlphaFold, DeepMind’s AI that created a detailed database of proteins, and eventually predicted the structure of more than 200 million proteins.

The first of Isomorphic’s latest deals is with Novartis, which will see the companies collaborate to find small molecule therapeutics against three undisclosed targets. Under the terms of the agreement, Isomorphic will receive an upfront payment of $37.5 million and funding for select research costs. Isomorphic said it is eligible to receive up to $1.2 billion in performance-based milestone payments.

“Cutting-edge AI technologies such as AlphaFold hold the potential to transform how we discover new drugs and accelerate our ability to deliver life-changing medicines for patients,” said Fiona Marshall, Novartis president of biomedical research.

“This collaboration harnesses our companies’ unique strengths, from AI and data science to medicinal chemistry and deep disease area expertise, to realise new possibilities in AI-driven drug discovery. We are thrilled to explore uncharted frontiers together with the Isomorphic team.”

The second deal is a research collaboration with Eli Lilly with similar goals of finding small molecule therapeutics against multiple targets. Isomorphic will receive an upfront cash payment of $45 million and is eligible to receive up to $1.7 billion performance-based milestone payments.

“We’re thrilled to embark on this partnership and apply our proprietary technology platform, the next generation of AlphaFold, and access to massive computing power to Lilly’s development programmes,” said Isomorphic Labs founder and CEO Demis Hassabis.

“The focus we share on advancing groundbreaking drug design approaches and appreciation of state-of-the-art science makes this partnership particularly compelling.”

Isomorphic Labs operates autonomously within Google parent company Alphabet, with its own dedicated resources and exclusive focus on the application of AI to drug discovery. The company is reimagining the entire drug discovery process from first principles with an AI-first approach, working to build powerful new predictive and generative models of biological phenomena to anticipate how drugs will perform and design novel molecules.

Working in collaboration with Google DeepMind, Isomorphic Labs has made remarkable progress in developing the Next Generation of AlphaFold. This new iteration of AlphaFold expands beyond proteins to include small molecules and nucleic acids.

Through deep integration of this next generation AlphaFold with other breakthrough AI models developed at Isomorphic Labs, the company is able to better understand the underlying biological mechanisms of drug targets, and rationally design novel therapeutics.

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