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AI Vital For Rapid Identification of Drugs That Can Be Repurposed To Combat COVID-19, Says New Report

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 21 Aug 2020
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Artificial intelligence (AI) offers significant promise for biopharmaceutical companies to speed up the drug repurposing process for finding new therapies to treat COVID-19, according to a new report.

The COVID-19 Executive Briefing report by GlobalData (London, UK; www.globaldata.com), a research, consulting and events firm, states that drug repurposing is among the fastest and safest methods to seek new therapies for the treatment of COVID-19, as the drugs are already being used for treating various existing conditions, thus reducing the possibility of adverse reactions. AI technologies are expected to play a significant role in allowing biopharmaceutical companies to shorten the time required for pre-clinical drug identification and design process.

The Innovation Explorer database of GlobalData’s Disruptor Intelligence Center has revealed how AI startups are helping identify suitable molecules that target COVID-19. For instance, BenevolentAI, a startup, is using its AI-based drug discovery platform to identify drugs that have the potential to disrupt selected viral entry pathways of COVID-19, thereby preventing the virus from replicating. Another startup Elix has harnessed various neural networks in order to predict the chemical properties of molecules with the capacity to neutralize COVID-19. Similarly, Gero, a startup, has leveraged AI to rapidly screen existing drug molecules for the treatment of COVID-19. Additionally, other startups such as Repurpose.AI and Atomwise are entering into partnerships with global research institutes to utilize their AI-powered predictive models for locating new drug molecules for the treatment of COVID-19.

“Typically developing a new drug takes almost a decade and costs anywhere between $2 billion to USD 3 billion,” said Venkata Naveen, Senior Disruptive Tech Analyst at GlobalData. “But now biopharmaceutical companies are in dire need to accelerate the entire drug development process given that COVID-19 cases and deaths are mounting every day. Under these circumstances, AI technologies allow companies to significantly shorten the pre-clinical drug identification and design process from several years to a few days or months.”

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