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May 1, 2019updated 23 Dec 2019 10:53am

AstraZeneca forms drug discovery alliance with BenevolentAI

AstraZeneca has partnered with artificial intelligence (AI) company BenevolentAI to develop treatments for chronic kidney disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

AstraZeneca has partnered with artificial intelligence (AI) company BenevolentAI to develop treatments for chronic kidney disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Under the long-term alliance, the firms will leverage machine learning and AI-based reasoning to systematically examine data and gain better insights into the underlying mechanisms of the diseases.

The companies will combine AstraZeneca’s genomics, chemistry and clinical data with BenevolentAI’s target identification platform and biomedical knowledge graph.

BenevolentAI’s graph is a network of contextualised scientific data that includes genes, proteins, diseases and compounds, as well as the connections between them.

“We can unlock the potential of this wealth of data to improve our understanding of complex disease biology.”

AstraZeneca research and development (R&D) biopharmaceuticals executive vice-president and president Mene Pangalos said: “The vast amount of data available to research scientists is growing exponentially each year.

“By combining AstraZeneca’s disease area expertise and large, diverse datasets with BenevolentAI’s leading AI and machine learning capabilities, we can unlock the potential of this wealth of data to improve our understanding of complex disease biology and identify new targets that could treat debilitating diseases.”

BenevolentAI CEO Joanna Shields said: “Millions of people today suffer from diseases that have no effective treatment. The future of drug discovery and development lies in bridging the gap between AI, data and biology.

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with AstraZeneca to develop new insights and identify promising new treatments for chronic kidney disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.”

Founded in 2013, BenevolentAI is engaged in the use of computational medicine and advanced AI to discover, develop and test drugs. In April last year, BenevolentAI raised $115m to support its drug development operations, as well as expand disease areas and AI platform capabilities.

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