Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Exscientia achieve breakthrough in AI drug discovery

The entire project was five times faster than typical discovery, a huge milestone in how AI will change healthcare and in validating its role in speeding up drug discovery.
By Dean Koh
03:08 AM

Japanese giant Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Oxford-headquartered AI-driven drug discovery company Exscientia yesterday announced that they have created a new compound which is in the process of entering human clinical trials in Japan. This is the first time a new precision engineered drug generated by AI is entering Phase 1 human clinical trials. The trial aims to measure the efficacy of the drug for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). 


According to Exscientia, developing a single drug is around $1.75B and discovery makes up a third of that cost. This entire project was five times faster than typical discovery – it took 12 months, vs. the typical five years, with the candidate compound found within 350 synthesized compounds vs. the typical 2500 compounds. 


The drug, which is named DSP-1181, was created through the joint research by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Exscientia. The former provided its experience and knowledge in monoamine GPCR drug discovery and the latter applied its Centaur Chemist AI platform for drug discovery.


MIT's School of Engineering and Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company are also working together to drive innovation and application of AI applications for healthcare and drug development, HealthcareITNews recently reported. Last December, French AI startup Iktos and skin-health focused pharmaceutical company Almirall announced a research collaboration in AI for new drug design. 


"We are very excited with the results of the joint research that resulted in the development of candidate compounds in a very short time. Exscientia's sophisticated AI drug discovery technologies combined with our company’s deep experience in monoamine GPCR drug discovery, allowed us to work synergistically, delivering a highly successful outcome. We will continue to work hard to make this clinical study a success so that it may deliver new benefits to patients as soon as possible," said Toru Kimura, Board of Directors, Senior Executive Officer and Senior Executive Research Director of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma in a statement. 

Andrew Hopkins, CEO of Exscientia, said: "We believe that this entry of DSP-1181, created using AI, into clinical studies is a key milestone in drug discovery. This project’s rapid success was through strong alignment of the integrated knowledge and experiences in chemistry and pharmacology on monoamine GPCR drug discovery at Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma with our AI technologies. We are proud that our AI drug discovery platform Centaur Chemist has contributed to generate DSP-1181 and look forward to its progression as a treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder."

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