Charles River and AI specialist Atomwise team on drug discovery

Artificial intelligence takes shape
Charles River Laboratories is teaming with drug discovery AI specialist Atomwise in an effort to streamline research efforts to speed drugs to market. (NicoElNino/iStockPhoto)

CRO Charles River Laboratories is teaming with drug discovery AI specialist Atomwise in an effort to streamline research efforts to speed drugs to market.

San Francisco-based Atomwise touts AI technology that allows researchers to predict how well a small molecule will bind to a target protein of interest. The technology lets scientists test large and diverse chemical space in just a few days, allowing them to navigate the optimization process much faster.

Atomwise said the partnership with Charles River is worth a potential $2.4 billion through technology access fees, milestone-based payments and sales royalties from clients.

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Charles River hopes to use the Atomwise AI tech with its integrated drug discovery platform. “Innovative solutions, including Atomwise’s AI technology, enable us to provide clients with a comprehensive, integrated platform for their early-stage drug research,” James Foster, Charles River’s chair, president and chief executive, said in a statement.

“By cutting time out of each stage of the drug discovery process, we enable our clients to deliver novel therapeutics to patients more efficiently and effectively,” Foster said.

Last May, the CRO announced it was expanding its services into the early discovery setting, offering high-speed pharmacokinetics screening of compounds’ underlying biology to help companies identify small-molecule candidates.

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