Iktos, a French artificial intelligence (AI) start-up company, has joined forces with California-based research institute SRI International to accelerate discovery and development of therapies for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) and other viruses.
As part of the collaboration, the AI-driven generative modelling technology of Iktos will be combined with SynFini, a fully automated end-to-end synthetic chemistry system developed by SRI.
The combination will aim at designing novel, optimised compounds and fast track the identification of drug candidates for the treatment of various viruses.
Iktos claims that its AI technology, based on deep generative models, will help in bringing speed and also efficiency to the drug discovery process through automatic designs of virtual novel molecules that have all of the necessary characteristics of a new drug candidate.
The French AI company said that this addresses one of the main challenges in drug design, which is quick and iterative identification of molecules that simultaneously validate various bioactive attributes and also drug-like criteria for clinical testing.
The SynFini platform was designed to speed up chemical discovery and development with a goal to quickly and affordably bring new drugs to the clinic. The closed-loop platform is said to automate the design, reaction screening and optimisation (RSO), and also the production of target molecules.
SynFini is made up of three components that are said to seamlessly work together. The components are a software platform called SynRoute, the SynJet reaction screening platform, and the AutoSyn multi-step flow chemistry automation and development platform.
By combining their respective platforms for faster molecular design and automated production of target molecules with established high-throughput biology, the partners hope to show a new paradigm in extremely quick drug discovery against high-value pharmaceutical targets.
Iktos co-founder and CEO Yann Gaston-Mathé said: “Iktos generative AI technology has proven its value and potential to accelerate drug discovery programs in multiple collaborations with renowned pharmaceutical companies.
“We are eager to apply it to SRI’s endonuclease program, and hope our collaboration with SRI can make a difference and speed up the identification of promising new therapeutic option for the treatment of COVID-19.”