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August 18, 2022

Atomwise and Sanofi partner for drug discovery using AI

Atomwise is entitled to receive research, development and sales-based milestone payments totalling over $1bn.

Atomwise and Sanofi have entered a strategic and exclusive research partnership to use the former’s artificial intelligence (AI)-driven AtomNet platform to discover and research up to five drug targets computationally.

The approach of Atomwise makes the process of drug discovery more logical and efficient by moving away from serendipitous discovery and toward a search that is structure-based.

By incorporating deep learning for structure-based drug design, the AtomNet platform facilitates the quick, AI-driven search of the company’s library of over three trillion synthesisable compounds.

Atomwise CEO and co-founder Abraham Heifets said: “At Atomwise, our mission is to use our unique technology to make better medicines faster by unlocking targets that have been inaccessible to traditional small molecule discovery approaches.

“We are pleased to enter into this collaboration with Sanofi, which serves as continued validation of the important role that AI-powered platforms will play in accelerating the discovery of new therapies for diseases and conditions that may have gone untreated due to challenging or uncharacterised drug targets.”

Under the multi-target collaboration, Atomwise will receive an upfront payment of $20m from Sanofi for identifying, synthesising and progressing lead compounds for up to five targets.

These targets will be exclusive to Sanofi.

Atomwise is also eligible to receive additional research, development and sales-based milestone payments totalling to over $1bn.

Furthermore, Sanofi will make tiered royalty payments on products that are developed under this partnership.

Sanofi Research global head and chief scientific officer Frank Nestle said: “At Sanofi, we are committed to bringing higher quality medicines to patients faster, empowered by our advanced AI drug discovery engine. 

“Together, we aim at making the drug discovery process more efficient and effective, in particular when very limited information is available to support drug design.”

In March, Sanofi signed an exclusive global partnership agreement with IGM Biosciences to develop immunoglobulin M antibody agonists for oncology, immunology and inflammation targets.

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