Alphabet has launched a new company called Isomorphic Labs, which will use artificial intelligence (AI) to discover new pharmaceutical drugs. It is reported that the venture will rely on the progress made by Alphabet’s DeepMind whose AI uses a model called AlphaFold2 to predict the shape of proteins with incredible accuracy.
“I am excited to announce the creation of a new Alphabet company – Isomorphic Labs – a commercial initiative with the mission to rethink the whole process of drug discovery from the first principles with an AI-based approach and, ultimately, to model and understand some of the basic mechanisms of of life “, wrote in the blog Demis Hasabis, founder and CEO of Isomorphic Labs (and DeepMind).
Speaker he said On the edge that Isomorphic Labs and DeepMind will remain separate companies, although they use somewhat similar techniques. In addition, Isomorphic Labs may not develop its own drugs, but instead sell its models by developing partnerships with pharmaceutical companies.
Although the news makes headlines around the world, Isomorphic Labs is is not the first company to try to apply AI to medical discoveries. Nvidia is collaborating with AstraZeneca, Schrödinger and the University of Florida to try to become AI-assisted drug research. Pfizer is working with IBM Watson on immuno-oncology drugs. Finally, UBC in collaboration with Microsoft tried to use its cloud computing in drug development.
In his blog, Hasabis emphasizes how for more than a decade DeepMind is at the forefront of the development of state – of – the – art art in AI, mostly through the use of games such as AlphaGo, the program that beat the world champion in the game Go. Hasabis now believes that these “techniques and methods have become powerful and complex enough to be applied to real-world problems, including scientific discovery itself.” If his hopes prove fruitful, we can witness a new incomparable era in drug development.