Insilico Medicine has developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered system to facilitate the creation of therapeutic molecules.

The AI technology GENTRL is thought to speed up the drug discovery process from years to days.

Drug discovery commonly involves testing of numerous molecules to identify some lead-like molecules. Furthermore, only one in ten of these molecules show a favourable profile in human clinical studies.

Insilico Medicine assessed the AI-powered GENTRL system for drug discovery in cells and animals and was able to create six new molecules that could address diseases such as fibrosis.

The company required 21 days to ideate and produce the new molecules.

Of the six newly created molecules, four selectively blocked DDR1, a protein target involved in various disorders including fibrosis, at nanomolar concentration.

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The idea of GENTRL stems from the company’s previous research using AI techniques of generative adversarial networks (GAN) and generative reinforcement learning (RL) to speed up the discovery of drugs.

The source code for the system is available as open-source.

Insilico Medicine CEO Alex Zhavoronkov said: “The development of these first six molecules as an experimental validation is just the start.

“By enabling the rapid discovery of novel molecules and by making GENTRL’s source code open source, we are ushering in new possibilities for the creation and discovery of new life-saving medicine for incurable diseases and making such powerful technology more broadly accessible for the first time to the public.”

Creation of the system is in alliance with a global open-access R&D and manufacturing platform called WuXi AppTec, as well as Alán Aspuru-Guzik, who works in quantum computing and AI in chemistry.

Based in Hong Kong, Insilico Medicine focuses on using AI and deep learning methods for drug discovery. The company has operations across North America, Europe and Asia.