Boehringer Ingelheim has entered an agreement with IBM to leverage the latter’s foundation model technologies for novel antibody discovery and development.

Boehringer will utilise a generative AI model developed and pre-trained by IBM to discover candidate antibodies, which will be advanced for therapeutic purposes. The model will be modified using further data from Boehringer.

Therapeutic antibodies are vital in treating conditions such as autoimmune and infectious diseases and cancer. Discovery and development, however, are complicated and time-consuming.

Deploying in-silico approaches, researchers at Boehringer and IBM plan to expedite the antibody discovery.  

The in-silico development of new human antibody sequences will be based on the structure, sequence and molecular profile data of disease-related targets apart from the success criteria for therapeutically-significant antibody molecules.

These techniques are based on IBM’s foundation model technologies, developed to boost swift and efficient antibody discovery and the quality of potential candidates. 

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The technologies will be used to create antibody candidates for specific targets and will be monitored using AI-powered simulation to choose and enhance the best target binders. 

Boehringer will manufacture the antibody candidates on mini-scales and assess them experimentally.

Laboratory experiment data will then be used to enhance the in-silico methods through feedback loops.

Boehringer Ingelheim Biotherapeutics Discovery global head Andrew Nixon stated: “We are very excited to collaborate with the research team at IBM, who share our vision of making in silico biologic drug discovery a reality.

“I am confident that by joining forces with IBM scientists we will develop an unprecedented platform for accelerated antibody discovery which will enable Boehringer to develop and deliver new treatments for patients with high unmet need.” 

Boehringer is currently establishing a digital ecosystem to expedite the discovery and development of drugs through partnerships.