Charles River, Valo join on AI-enabled drug discovery offering

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

(Tetiana Voitenko/iStock via Getty Images Plus)
(Tetiana Voitenko/iStock via Getty Images Plus)

Related tags: Charles river laboratories, Artificial intelligence, Drug discovery, Drug development, AI

The CRO has paired with the drug discovery technology firm on Logica, an artificial intelligence tool designed to accelerate development of new treatments.

Charles River Laboratories and Valo Health have introduced an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered drug system for translating clients’ biological insights into optimized preclinical assets.

Valo Health, a venture capital-backed startup, has established a multi-omics database covering millions of patients and capabilities to turn the data into insights in an attempt to slash the time and cost of developing new medicines. Now, Valo has paired the platform with the preclinical development capabilities of the CRO Charles River to create Logica, an offering the partners see as a way to take the risk out of biopharma R&D.

Drug discovery and development has become increasingly complex and there is a lot of risk associated with developing new drugs, with many of them failing in the clinic. Logica increases certainty and decreases risk through delivery of advanceable leads and candidates​,” said Birgit Girshick, corporate executive vice president and chief operating officer at Charles River.

Logica leverages Valo’s AI-powered Opal Computational Platform, which has predictive models, chemical design and synthesis capabilities, DNA-encoded libraries, and in silico high throughput screening. Valo is using the platform to support its internal drug development aspirations, screening trillions of compounds in a matter of days.

The new offering integrates the platform with the laboratory capabilities Charles River has in areas such as medicinal chemistry and pharmacology. In doing so, Girshick thinks the partners have established a system that is capable of consistently translating targets to candidate nomination.

This approach has a 90% success rate in producing advanceable lead series. We’ll also conduct an advanceability assessment and leverage our data generation and compute capabilities to rapidly advance to a candidate. The result is that clients get to the candidate stage faster, and access a much larger chemical space than they would otherwise be able to​,” said Girshick.

Charles River and Valo’s confidence in the platform has shaped the business model for Logica. Most of the client cost is linked to the success of the project, an approach that Girshick said “decreases risk for clients by providing a true risk-sharing model​.”

The new offering slots into a fast-growing business, with Charles River forecasting organic sales growth of 12.5% to 14.5% for this year. Charles River sees the establishment of innovative capabilities as central to persuading biopharma companies to outsource more of their drug discovery work to CROs.

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