05 April 2023 | Wednesday | News
Image Source : Public Domain
Standigm, a company using artificial intelligence (AI) technology for drug discovery and development, and Korean non profit research institute Institut Pasteur Korea announced that they have jointly developed new lead compounds effective in treating resistant tuberculosis (TB). The two organizations conducted a technology acceleration grant project supported by the Right Foundation from 2021 to 2022. They achieved encouraging results by combining their core competencies of artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, infectious disease research capabilities and drug discovery technologies. This breakthrough demonstrates that AI technology can effectively address unmet medical needs for low and middle-income countries that tend to have higher than normal rates of resistant TB.
Standigm, the project's lead organization, utilized its drug design artificial intelligence platform, Standigm BEST™, with a scaffold-based molecular generation model and a deep learning prediction model that learned the features of three-dimensional molecular structures.
The collaborating institute, Institut Pasteur Korea, utilized its drug discovery platform in a biosafety level 3 laboratory to evaluate the efficacy of new compounds against drug-sensitive and multi-drug-resistant TB (MDR-TB)/extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) and incorporated the compound information and efficacy evaluation results into Standigm BEST™.
In particular, the researchers designed and synthesized various new compounds based on the compounds' structure-activity relationship (SAR) analysis and continuously provided high-quality anti-TB efficacy evaluation results, which Standigm utilized to enhance its AI platform. The two organizations have successfully identified lead compounds for resistant TB through this AI-based drug discovery research collaboration.
Standigm and Institut Pasteur Korea have been collaborating on TB drug discovery since 2020. On September 29, 2021, they signed a memorandum of understanding to develop AI-based infectious disease drugs to accelerate their joint research.
"There is no vaccination that can guarantee complete protection against TB," said Dr. Sangok Song, co-founder and chief research officer of Standigm. "The BCG vaccination is the only vaccination against TB, and even if antibodies are developed, the lifetime protection rate is only 19% to 27%. We believe that artificial intelligence technology will play an important role in discovering new, low-cost, and effective treatments for TB and other diseases in low- and middle-income countries."
TB often spreads in enclosed, poorly ventilated, multi-use facilities where many people stay for long periods, but it is one of the most urgently needed vaccines and treatments in medically underserved countries because of its high prevalence in socio-economically disadvantaged populations and the resistance issues from prolonged use of currently available TB drugs.
"Through this collaboration with Standigm, we have presented a complementary and advanced drug discovery research model that combines the accumulated know-how of our researchers with cutting-edge technologies and next-generation artificial intelligence, said Dr. Byung-Kwon Lim, director of the Institut Pasteur Korea." We will accelerate the subsequent development of new drug candidates derived from this research collaboration and contribute to the global effort to end TB."