Germany-based Bayer Pharmaceuticals has partnered with Imperial College London to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to drive drug discovery for heart disorders.

Under the three-year project, researchers will analyse UK Biobank data and attempt to identify pathways associated with heart disease and could offer new treatment targets.

A team led by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and Imperial’s Institute of Clinical Sciences will jointly work with Bayer to devise machine learning tools for assessing 3D images of the heart. The tools will also be used to evaluate genetic information.

Bayer Pharmaceuticals Cardiovascular Data Sciences head Daniel Freitag said: “Through our collaboration with Imperial College London we hope to get a more holistic view of the elements leading to heart failure.

“Ultimately, this should help us get a better understanding of the molecular pathways involved in cardiac function, and thereby guide approaches to develop new therapies in this area.”

“Our collaboration with Imperial College London should help us guide approaches to develop new therapies in this area.”

The team will use machine learning to explore cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with genetic and health data for discovering key pathways that could be potential drug targets.

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Bayer and Imperial expect the project to accelerate drug discovery and yield new approaches for the treatment or prevention of serious heart conditions.

MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences researcher Declan O’Regan said: “AI has the potential to transform our understanding of heart disease and accelerate the discovery of new treatments.

“Our collaboration with Bayer will harness state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms and advanced statistical techniques to understand the relationship between genetic variants and cardiac motion using data collected by UK Biobank.”

Bayer has committed to fund a cross-disciplinary scientist working across the genetics, clinical imaging and AI domains.