For the first time, a Toronto-based company called Deep Genomics has discovered a drug target and corresponding candidate using artificial intelligence (AI). The company announced that its AI-based drug discovery platform has identified a new treatment target and drug candidate for Wilson disease, a potentially life-threatening genetic disorder.
People with Wilson disease cannot clear excess copper from the body, meaning it instead builds up in various tissues such as the liver and the brain. The condition affects about one in every 30,000 people worldwide and, if left untreated, it can cause life-threatening organ damage.
Traditional approaches have been a “gambling game”
Founder and CEO of Deep Genomics, Brendan Frey, says that making drugs has traditionally been a gambling game: “It’s like the Big Pharma companies come into a casino, put a million-dollar coin into a slot machine and with some probability like 10% or something, they get a win.”
Instead of “throwing a stick into the tree and seeing what happens,” as he puts it, Frey built Deep Genomics, a company that uses artificial intelligence to discover new disease targets as well as the best corresponding compounds to treat them.
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