Model Medicines Announces AI-driven Drug Discovery Partnership

The collaboration will leverage Model Medicines’ cheminformatic approach to drug discovery to identify drugs for novel antiviral targets uncovered by Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute.

Model Medicines, an AI drug discovery software company, today announced they have entered into a multi-target collaboration agreement with Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute to identify and develop drugs for novel antiviral targets.

The collaboration leverages Model Medicines’ ActivPred AI Drug Discovery Platform, an unbiased drug, target, and disease agnostic digital chemistry engine, in conjunction with Sanford Burnham Prebys’ identification of novel antiviral targets and deep scientific expertise, to discover and develop new treatments for SARS-CoV-2 and other infectious diseases.

The partnership will initially focus on COVID-19 with a long-term vision of both Sanford Burnham Prebys and Model Medicines to develop and advance broad-spectrum antivirals for the infectious diseases of today and those yet unknown in the future. While pandemics like COVID-19 are not expected on a yearly basis, it is widely understood that the international community will encounter these pandemics at a significantly higher frequency. There is an immediate and ongoing need to develop broad-spectrum antivirals that are ready to be dosed globally at a moment’s notice to meet these challenges. The application of novel, validated therapeutics at the onset of an outbreak has the potential to significantly reduce the loss of life and the disruption to the global economy wrought by future infectious diseases.

Model Medicines has created an infectious disease specific version of their ActivPred AI Drug Discovery Platform that focuses exclusively on identifying safe and effective, non-obvious therapeutics with activity against the novel biological targets identified by Sanford Burnham Prebys. Their digital chemistry drug discovery platform leverages artificial intelligence based on fundamental chemistry to discover drugs active against these novel biological targets that cannot be resolved with traditional high throughput screening approaches.

“We are very excited to partner with Model Medicines on this important endeavor to identify novel therapeutics to treat the immediate threat of SARS-CoV-2 today and prepare for the pandemics of tomorrow,” says Sumit Chanda, Ph.D., director of the Immunity and Pathogenesis Program at Sanford Burnham Prebys. “We believe that our research partnership with Model Medicines will demonstrate that the combination of biology, chemistry and artificial intelligence can disrupt the traditional drug discovery process. The result of which has the potential to bring treatments to the market, on demand, at a fraction of the time, money, and effort, as well as with greater efficacy than traditional approaches.”

Chanda leads one of the leading infectious disease laboratories in the world focused on unraveling the molecular bases for complex host-pathogen interactions. His work has advanced human understanding of viral pathogenesis, elucidating the repertoire of host proteins required for viral infection, and expanding the understanding of the molecular strategies adapted by these viruses as countermeasures to innate immune responses. Chanda is the senior author of “Discovery of SARS-CoV-2 antiviral drugs through large-scale compound repurposing”, a seminal multi-institute paper published in Nature in 2020, which is ranked in the 99th percentile of all published studies of similar age.

“We are grateful to be working with Dr. Chanda, a renowned expert in infectious disease biology, and our colleagues at Sanford Burnham Prebys, one of the most storied biomedical institutes in the world,” says Daniel Haders, Ph.D., executive chairman at Model Medicines. “Dr. Chanda’s expertise in virology coupled with our cheminformatic approach to AI drug discovery has the potential to identify potent therapeutics for novel viral targets which will help meet the needs of patients suffering with COVID-19 today and patients afflicted with the infectious diseases of tomorrow.”

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