Eli Lilly inks OpenAI deal for discovering new antibiotics

Eli Lilly is teaming up with OpenAI on a quest to develop new treatments that overcome antimicrobial resistance (AMR).  

The Big Pharma will use the generative artificial intelligence from OpenAI to come up with new solutions for microbial infections. Financial details of the deal, which was announced June 25, were not disclosed.

“Generative AI opens a new opportunity to accelerate the discovery of novel antimicrobials and the development of custom, purpose-built technologies in the battle against drug-resistant pathogens,” Diogo Rau, executive vice president and chief information and digital officer at Lilly, said in a press release. 

AMR is a global public health threat driven by the misuse and overuse of the drug class. Resistance can be exacerbated by poverty and inequality, especially in low- and middle-income countries, according to Lilly.   

The new partnership marks one of Lilly’s several commitments to the cause via its Social Impact Venture Capital Portfolio. The portfolio was launched in 2020 and has contributed $100 million to the AMR Action Fund, a VC working to bring two to four new antibiotics to market by 2030. Just this month, the AMR fund put its money behind Elion Therapeutics in an $81 million series B that will support the company’s clinical-stage antifungal therapy.