Atomwise Inc., a leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) for drug discovery and design, has entered into an evaluation agreement with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE). Pfizer will evaluate Atomwise’s platform to identify potential drug candidates for up to three target proteins selected by Pfizer.
In the agreement, Pfizer will pay a technology access fee and additional success-based payments for each target protein of interest. Atomwise will computationally analyze millions of diverse small molecules for each of Pfizer’s identified target proteins using its cutting-edge AI platform to predict those that may bind with high affinity to the selected target proteins. Atomwise’s medicinal and computational chemistry teams will also work with Pfizer scientists to define the required potency and other chemical properties of the small molecules for the targets of interest.
Pfizer is one of many pharmaceutical companies looking to AI technology to advance drug discovery. Atomwise’s platform uses a patented application of AI technology to extract statistical insights from millions of experimental affinity measurements and thousands of protein structures to accurately predict the binding of small molecules to proteins. Atomwise’s scientists and engineers have created and validated a powerful tool that can be applied to the discovery and design of small molecules with potentially high accuracy for hit discovery and lead optimization programs.
Atomwise’s AI technology can analyze a very large chemical space to identify diverse chemical structures that are predicted to bind with high affinity. Through the use of AI-based technology to virtually screen chemical libraries, research and development is no longer constrained by the number of compounds in a physical library, or the resources needed to create and screen them. By evaluating orders of magnitude more molecules, new therapeutic opportunities such as historically-challenging target classes, and novel therapeutic approaches such as bispecific small molecules, can potentially be made tractable. Drug discovery processes that traditionally have taken years can theoretically be compressed to weeks or months by using Atomwise’s technology and collaborative workflow.
In March of 2018, AtomWise announced that it had raised $45 million in Series A funding. Its website lists Merck, Abbvie, and Bayer as corporate partners.