AI-driven drug discovery collaboration to tackle neurological diseases

By Jenni Spinner

- Last updated on GMT

(metamorworks/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(metamorworks/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags Drug discovery Artificial intelligence Research neurologic

Sosei Heptares and PharmEnable will harness artificial intelligence-enabled technology and advanced chemistry to explore neurological disease solutions.

Japan-based Sosei and PharmEnable, a UK drug discovery company, will collaborate to drive novel drug discovery against a G protein-couple receptor (GPCR) target associated with a range of neurological ailments. According to the companies, the partnership will combine Sosei Heptares’ CPCR-focused drug-design platform and PharmEnable's artificial intelligence (AI) and medicinal chemistry technologies to pinpoint novel, specific drug leads.

PharmEnable's technology reportedly identifies 3D drug candidate hits with improved specificity (as compared to other screening methods) and enables researchers to take on challenging biological targets, including peptidergic GPCRs, which to date have proven challenging to tackle using existing approaches. Under the agreement, the two firms will work in tandem conduct and split the costs of the discovery and development program, co- any resulting products.

The natural agonist ligand of a peptidergic GPCR is a large, complex peptide. It typically is exceedingly difficult to block with a small molecule, particularly one that has properties suitable for development as a therapeutic agent for neurological disease.

Miles Congreve, Sosei Heptares chief scientific officer, commented: "We have been very impressed with PharmEnable's technology and approach, which we believe to be highly complementary to our own, offering important synergies for drug discovery on challenging GPCR targets. We are excited to apply these technologies on a peptidergic GPCR target that has proved particularly difficult to drug​.”

Congreve added, “We have so far assembled a wealth of structural and ligand-binding information on the target and created several promising molecules but have yet to identify compounds with sufficiently desirable neurological drug-like properties to advance into preclinical studies. Combining our respective technologies and expertise may be the key that unlocks this target and enables the identification of higher quality molecules to progress into preclinical development​."

PharmEnable CEO Hanna Sore said, “We have proven the strength of our platform in tapping unexplored parts of the chemical universe to find novel and specific hits for currently undruggable targets. Combining our platform with the technology and structural insights developed by Sosei Heptares should enable us to generate several potential hits, and to establish our pipeline of candidate molecules for the treatment of challenging diseases​." 

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed

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