GSK signs AI pact with Ochre to pinpoint source of liver diseases

GSK and Ochre Bio will work together in a $37.5 million partnership to pinpoint the drivers of liver disease.

The new partnership, announced Wednesday morning, will see GSK access Ochre’s computational biology, cellular and perfused human organ platforms to generate human liver data sets that can be used to better understand the biology of the liver.

The goal, of course, is to eventually develop therapeutics to address liver diseases. The companies did not specify what indications they plan to target, however, GSK said the collaboration would complement its disease area focus in hepatology.

The U.K. pharma has clinical assets in primary biliary cholangitis, metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis, cholestatic pruritus and hepatitis B, the latter of which dominates a large portion of its early-stage pipeline. GSK is advancing bepirovirsen in a phase 3 trial for chronic hepatitis B as a functional cure for the infection. The pharma expects annual sales of 2 billion pounds sterling ($2.57 billion) for the med.

Also in phase 3 from the liver portfolio is linerixibat for cholestatic pruritus in primary biliary cholangitis, a condition that causes intense itch that is not satisfied by scratching.

“In addition to our programs in MASH to hepatitis B, we are committed to addressing unmet need in liver disease by generating unique data in human-derived systems. Ochre Bio’s platform will provide GSK with foundational data sets to create AI models allowing us to better understand liver function and disease for the development of novel medicines,” said Kim Branson, senior vice president and global head of AI and machine learning at GSK, in a Wednesday statement.

GSK’s interest in Ochre lies in the biotech’s platform that allows livers to stay alive for a few days for the extraction of tissue samples. GSK’s in-house AI and machine learning experts will analyze the data from the partnership and use it to build better models and, thus, more precise experiments for developing new liver disease therapeutics.

The $37.5 million deal will include both co-exclusive and nonexclusive data licenses, but full details were not released.