Taking AI to ageing-focused R&D

Insilico leverages expertise in AI, big data analytics and blockchain for ageing-related products and solutions


US-based Insilico Medicine Inc is cranking up its work on artificial intelligence (AI) for ageing research and drug development. The outfit, based at the Johns Hopkins University, has shown “visionary capabilities” in understanding the ageing-related technology needs of academia, pharmaceutical companies, dietary supplement manufacturers and cosmetics companies.

The company’s AI-based platform bridges biology and chemistry and digital health. It connects genomic, metabolomic, proteomic and other clinical databases, and then analyses the data to find pathologically activated pathways.

In turn, these can aid in the creation of actionable targets for age management and the company generates novel molecules for these specific biological targets using Generative Adversarial Networks and Reinforcement Learning techniques, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.

Based on its recent analysis of the North American market for AI for ageing research and drug development, Frost & Sullivan has recognised the firm, led by Alex Zhavoronkov (picture) as its CEO, with the 2018 North American Technology Innovation Award.

“Insilico Medicine employs unique methodologies for ageing research and development (R&D), such as the in silico Pathway Activation Network Decomposition Analysis, for analysing signalling and metabolic pathway perturbation states,” said Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Neelotpal Goswami in a statement.

“It studies the effects of external perturbations on the activation of signalling pathways and their effect on downstream targets. This offers clinicians a clearer understanding of the ways in which genes involved in age-related dis- eases and cancers are dynamically controlled by complex networks of signalling pathways.”

Insilico Medicine uses parallel, high-performance, AI-enabled computing solutions for in silico drug discovery and drug repurposing for multiple diseases, including cancer, age-related diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and fibrosis.

To keep its lead in ageing-focused R&D, the company has collaborated with a number of leading research- based universities around the world, like the University of Copenhagen, to develop drugs to treat Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cardiovascular diseases. The company also has an alliance with Gachon University Gil Medical Centre in South Korea to develop multimodal ageing biomarkers, as well as interventions intended to slow down age-related loss of function.

The company collaborates with WuXi to validate novel targets and molecules discovered using its next-generation AI pipelines. WuXi, Pavilion Capital Pte Ltd, Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd, Bold Capital Partners and Juvenescence Ltd are among the strategic investors in Insilico Medicine, according to the statement. Insilico Medicine is working on multiple projects that leverage its core AI expertise in diverse areas. For example, it offers an AI-powered digital health platform named Young.AI that helps users track health-related parameters over time to better manage healthy ageing by integrating multiple predictors of a person’s age. Young. AI enables testing and real-life performance evaluation of these predictors.

Another significant digital tool from the company is Nutriomi, a personalised nutrition management platform for healthy ageing. It employs an omics-informed personalised approach to nutrition, wherein scientific data is used to match personal preferences and needs of healthy nutrition for longevity, according to the statement. — TMR