Cambridge University partners with LifeArc for AI drug discovery

Charlotte Edwards 23 January 2018 (Last Updated January 23rd, 2018 15:50)

Cambridge University is partnering with UK-based medical research charity LifeArc to develop cutting-edge machine learning approaches. The Milner Therapeutics Institute at the University of Cambridge will use the partnership to identify and validate new drug targets in immuno-oncology and respiratory diseases.

Cambridge University partners with LifeArc for AI drug discovery
Cambridge University Bridge of Sighs. Credit: Llee Wu

Cambridge University is partnering with UK-based medical research charity LifeArc to develop cutting-edge machine learning approaches. The Milner Therapeutics Institute at the University of Cambridge will use the partnership to identify and validate new drug targets in immuno-oncology and respiratory diseases.

Professor Tony Kouzarides, director of the Milner Therapeutics Institute, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with LifeArc in applying artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning approaches to drug discovery. There is a lot of interest in these methods for the potential benefit of patients. The drug discovery insight and investment from LifeArc will be important in realising this.”

The Milner Therapeutics Institute claims to convert ground-breaking science into new therapies. According to the organisation, it represents a new model of academic institution, which works to harness global therapeutic alliance to deliver better therapies and improve medical technology.

LifeArc’s drug discovery knowledge, combined with the machine learning and bioinformatics expertise of the Milner Therapeutics Institute, will enable the institutions to set targets for their drug discoveries and experiments. The information generated will then help to develop new machine learning approaches, which will be integrated into the drug discovery process. The new approaches will be designed to identify more therapeutic targets, stratify patient populations, and predict the efficacy of new and existing drugs.

Dr Justin Bryans, executive director of drug discovery at LifeArc, said: “Drug discovery is a long and risky process and our collaboration with the Milner Therapeutics Institute represents a powerful way to unlock new potential approaches to help patients. We are excited about the opportunity to work at the interface of drug discovery and AI, and apply the knowledge in this field to help expedite the delivery of new treatments to patients.”

Both institutions are looking for more partners to work with so they can further their research.