When it rains, it pours: Following two new joint ventures, artificial-intelligence-based drug designer Atomwise has announced two more projects in quick succession—including one with a Chinese biopharma company it says could net the company up to $1.5 billion for developing first-in-class molecules.
The collaboration with Hansoh Pharma, Atomwise’s first partner in Asia, aims to design new drug candidates for up to 11 undisclosed protein targets in different disease areas.
Atomwise’s scientific teams in AI technology, medicinal chemistry and protein structure will work closely with Hansoh’s R&D, manufacturing and commercial staff, according to the two companies. In return, Atomwise will receive undisclosed technology access fees as well as option exercise fees and royalty payments.
Meanwhile, Atomwise will work with California-based startup Atropos Therapeutics to develop a pipeline of cancer treatments.
Atropos focuses on modulating cellular senescence, the regulated biological process that halts cell division and contributes to a normal part of aging. The failure and induction of senescence has also been linked to the progression of certain cancers.
“This partnership with Atropos is an opportunity to ultimately provide patients with a fundamentally different class of drugs,” Atomwise co-founder and CEO Abraham Heifets, Ph.D., said in a statement.
Under the agreement, the new joint venture company will be able to access tech from both Atropos and Atomwise to build out a new platform that screens compounds against anticancer targets.