SAN FRANCISCO, June 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Atomwise Inc., a leader in using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for drug screening and design, has announced that 100 academic projects have received an Artificial Intelligence Molecular Screen (AIMS) Award in the first year of the program. The awards are supporting academic researchers in a wide variety of fields, from human and animal health to crop protection. Atomwise now invites academic researchers anywhere in the world to apply for a new round of AIMS Awards scheduled to open the first week of June 2018.
The AIMS Awards enable researchers to accelerate the translation of their research into treatments. Each award provides a researcher with industry-leading AI virtual screening and compounds for testing, all at no cost to the researcher. Atomwise's patented AI screening technology is used to predict the binding of more than 10 million small molecules to a protein of interest. A subset of small molecules that are potential candidates for drug development is shipped to the researcher in a format ready for testing.
The shift from high-throughput benchtop screening to in silico screening is transforming drug discovery. Atomwise can screen 40 million compounds per day, making it possible to compress years of research into just a few weeks. Drug discovery was once restricted to a handful of laboratories with specialized equipment, large budgets and in-house computational chemistry teams; with this award, screening can now be performed by nearly any research lab.
Dr. Young Tang, a recipient of an AIMS Award and an Assistant Professor of animal science at the University of Connecticut, agrees. "With this award I was able to pursue an exciting idea for targeting a highly pathogenic porcine virus and obtain additional funding support. I am hopeful that this research will lead to the discovery of a small molecule that can effectively block entry of this virus; this could have an enormous impact on animal well-being."
Atomwise has also worked on a variety of challenging drug targets and found success where other efforts have failed.
"One research group had a very difficult time inhibiting the action of protein they knew had a crucial role in multiple sclerosis," said Atomwise CEO Abraham Heifets, PhD. "The group could not find a therapy that had a clinical path forward. We were able to discover a small molecule that blocks a key protein-protein interaction. This molecule was shown to be an effective treatment in a mouse model of the disease." That compound has since been licensed to a pharmaceutical company in a confidential deal.
"The success of AIMS is immensely gratifying," said Han Lim, MD, PhD, Vice President, Global Head of Partnering at Atomwise. "I came to Atomwise to help researchers translate fundamental discoveries in biology and medicine into treatments. Researchers who were previously unable to investigate new drug treatments can now do so because we have removed barriers impeding their efforts. Specifically, we provide them with access to AI screening technology and medicinal chemistry know-how, and eliminate the high cost and enormous time required for physical screening of compounds."
Once the projects awarded in the first year of the AIMS Awards program are completed, Atomwise will have screened more than a billion protein-small molecule interactions, and researchers will have received over 7,000 compounds for a variety of diseases, including multiple types of cancer, metabolic disorders, neurological diseases, and serious infections. Because of the enthusiastic response of academic researchers to the AIMS Awards, Atomwise will use a significant portion of its recent $45 million Series A funding to expand the program. Now, even more researchers will have the opportunity to discover small molecules to improve the well-being of humans and animals.
To apply for the AIMS Award, visit www.atomwise.com/aims-awards and complete the simple online form.
Atomwise Inc. patented the first deep learning technology for structure-based small molecule drug discovery. This AI technology harnesses millions of data points and thousands of protein structures to solve problems that a human chemist would take many lifetimes to solve. Atomwise has partnered with some of the world's largest pharmaceutical and agtech companies and with more than 50 leading academic institutions and hospitals, to tackle the challenges of discovering and developing better drugs and agrochemicals. Recently, Atomwise raised $45 million from leading venture capital firms to support the development and application of its AI technology.
Partnering Team at Atomwise
SOURCE Atomwise Inc.