Almirall is enlisting artificial intelligence player Iktos to speed up drug design for its discovery programs. Under the deal, the pair will use Iktos’ AI technology to design new compounds that tick multiple drug criteria boxes.
Iktos’ work is based on “deep generative models,” which helps make drug discovery more efficient, by automatically designing new molecules that have “all desirable characteristics of a novel drug candidate,” the company says.
“This tackles one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid and iterative identification of molecules which simultaneously validate multiple bioactive attributes and drug-like criteria for clinical testing,” Iktos said in a statement.
Dermatology-focused Almirall is not letting on how many discovery programs the duo is teaming up on, nor is it disclosing which disease areas those programs are looking at.
“This partnership is an example of how we intend to explore the enormous possibilities offered by technology to find new molecules and to speed up clinical development”, said Dr. Bhushan Hardas, Almirall’s chief scientific officer and R&D chief, in the statement. “The health sector lags behind others in the digital world. Almirall wants to be at the forefront of innovation to develop holistic and transversal approaches. Artificial Intelligence will provide Almirall a unique opportunity to combine our proficiency with the preciseness and celerity to truly make a difference in patients' lives”.
Paris, France-based Iktos has been on a dealmaking roll recently, teaming up with Janssen and Merck KGaA earlier this year. It’s also working with other European companies, including Servier, Galapagos and Pierre Fabre.
“We are thrilled to initiate a new research collaboration with Almirall... We are eager to demonstrate to our collaborators the power of Iktos technology to accelerate their research, and to get the opportunity to further improve by confronting our approach to a new use case, consistently with our strategy to prove our value in real-life projects,” said Iktos CEO Yann Gaston-Mathé, in the statement.