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October 30, 2017

New public-private consortium to accelerate discovery of cancer therapies

A consortium comprising scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR), GSK and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) is set to create a platform to accelerate the discovery of effective cancer medicines.

A consortium comprising scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR), GSK and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) is set to create a platform to accelerate the discovery of effective cancer medicines.

The open and sharable platform will combine data stores, high-performance computing, shared biological data, biotechnologies and scientific expertise of the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) consortium.

ATOM primarily aims to minimise the six-year cancer drug discovery process to one year.

FNLCR laboratory director David Heimbrook said: “The goals of ATOM are tightly aligned with those of the 21st Century Cures Act, which aims in part to enable a greater number of therapies to reach more patients more quickly.

“Although initially focused on precision oncology – treatments targeted specifically to the characteristics of the individual patient’s cancer – the consortium’s discoveries could accelerate drug discovery against many diseases.”

“The goals of ATOM are tightly aligned with those of the 21st Century Cures Act, which aims in part to enable a greater number of therapies to reach more patients more quickly.”

The consortium plans to integrate modern science, technology and engineering, supercomputing simulations, data science and artificial intelligence to develop, test and validate a multidisciplinary drug discovery technique.

Initially, GSK will provide chemical and in-vitro biological data for more than two million compounds of preclinical and clinical information on 500 molecules failed in development, drug discovery and development, computational chemistry and biology expertise.

LLNL will contribute its supercomputers such as Sierra, along with expertise in modelling and simulation, cognitive computing, machine learning and algorithm development.

While FNLCR intends to offer scientific expertise in precision oncology, computational chemistry and cancer biology, the UCSF will contribute drug discovery and medicine innovation expertise.

Using supercomputers to simultaneously pretest the safety and efficacy of several molecules, ATOM aims to develop an approach to obtain quick, integrated and improved outcomes for cancer therapies.

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