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14 September, 2020 - 20:33 By Tony Quested

PhoreMost signs AI-based pharma drug discovery agreement

PhoreMost, the Cambridge biopharma company dedicated to drugging ‘undruggable’ disease targets, and XtalPi Inc., a leading algorithm-driven artificial intelligence (AI)-based pharmaceutical technology company, have entered into a drug discovery collaboration agreement. Financial details are not disclosed.

PhoreMost and XtalPi will rapidly identify and develop compounds to advance a drug discovery program against targets that epigenetically regulate tumour progression, and have been previously classified as ‘undruggable’. 

The companies will pursue this challenging goal with a unique combination of machine learning and physics-based computation methods, using XtalPi’s intelligent digital drug discovery and development (ID4) platform, to explore novel sites discovered by PhoreMost’s SITESEEKER® platform.

PhoreMost’s SITESEEKER platform exploits protein shape diversity to find new peptide targets, significantly enhancing the power of phenotypic screening and translation into therapeutic modalities. 

Based on proprietary protein interference, or ‘PROTEINi®’, technology, PhoreMost uses SITESEEKER to probe the entire proteome in a live cell environment for novel druggable targets linked to any chosen disease. This enables the systematic discovery of functionally active peptides which are directly linked to useful therapeutic applications.

Protein-protein interaction sites are traditionally considered ’undruggable’ by small-molecules due to their large flat surface and the absence of well-defined binding pockets. 

XtalPi’s ID4 platform integrates data-driven AI models with physics-based methods to quickly distil a small number of high-quality compounds from an AI-generated target-specific chemical space that includes millions of diverse molecules. 

Such diversity, combined with ID4’s drug property prediction algorithms’ speed and accuracy, allows scientists to unearth promising candidates, overcome the bottleneck of simultaneously optimising all pharmacological properties, and ensure a smooth progression into pre-clinical and clinical studies.

Dr Chris Torrance, CEO of PhoreMost, said: “XtalPi’s AI-based ID4 and PhoreMost’s SITESEEKER are highly complementary platforms, and we look forward to working together with the team.

“This alliance marks an exciting chapter in PhoreMost’s development, as we now seek to rapidly progress our internal portfolio of novel first-in-class targets into drug discovery.”

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