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7 May, 2020 - 20:21 By Tony Quested

AI VIVO seeks partnerships to turn up the heat on coronavirus

AI VIVO, the Cambridge based company combining systems pharmacology and artificial intelligence to accelerate drug discovery, is seeking pharma and biotech collaboration partners to progress therapeutic candidates identified by the company as top-ranked for COVID-19. 

The update follows the finding that 41 of the candidate drugs from AI VIVO’s top-ranked list for COVID-19 are now in clinical trials by multiple groups globally.

This underlines the ability of AI VIVO’s platform to systematically and correctly identify candidates with the highest chance of therapeutic success. 

AI VIVO is now seeking partners to test other candidates identified by the platform as top-ranked, which provide anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and cytokine storm suppressive effects. 

Using its unique technology, the company also compiled a list of drug combinations from its top-ranked list and they are keen to share the results with pharma companies and clinical trial investigators.

AI VIVO announced on April 6 that its systems pharmacology platform, powered by AI, had identified several candidate drugs likely to be effective in treating the disease. 

At that time, five drug candidates from the top ranked list had already been selected by other groups for COVID-19 clinical trials. In less than a month, the number of compound candidates from AI VIVO’s top ranked list that are registered for COVID-19 clinical trials has grown from five to 41 candidates.

This overlap is significant because AI VIVO’s ranking system is based on the company’s unique phenotypic drug discovery methodology and does not rely on any prior knowledge or known information related to the disease or compounds. 

To identify the candidate drugs most likely to be effective in treating the disease, AI VIVO used samples from COVID-19 infected cells to build its model for the disease, which was then used to rank 90,000 compounds. The top candidate compounds list represents only 0.3 per cent of the evaluated drugs.

Dr Peyman Gifani, AI VIVO founder and CEO, said: “This is a great validation of AI VIVO’s phenotypic approach to modelling diseases and the effects of drugs. 

“Our panel of experts believe there are combinations of other top-ranked drugs that will be more effective than any single drug and we are keen to share our results with pharma companies and clinical trial investigators to support the fight against COVID-19. 

“We are also offering to cross check the candidates from other investigators to help predict combinations to improve drug efficacy, reduce undesirable side effects and optimise the dosage.”

Cambridge technology entrepreneur Dr David Cleevely, lead investor in AI VIVO, said: “Now that our approach has been validated, we are expanding our interactions with government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to review the top ranked drugs which have not yet been selected for trials, but have the potential to make a real difference in the fight against COVID-19.”

Amongst AI VIVO’s top ranked list of candidates are a number of proprietary compound candidates currently in phase II or phase III clinical trials. AI VIVO will now be proactively reaching out to the pharma companies who have developed these compounds to provide more information on why the compounds are top ranked and how they might be used as single drugs and in combinations.

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