Alphabet-backed Calico partners to harness computational drug discovery

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

© alengo / Getty Images
© alengo / Getty Images

Related tags: Calico, Drug discovery

Calico and Terray Therapeutics announced a research collaboration to discover and develop small molecule therapeutics for diseases of aging.

Calico was launched by Alphabet in 2013 with the ambitious goal of “curing death.” Since its launch, the company has been steadily adding partnerships to understand and find treatments for age-related diseases, such as through its partnership with The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard​.

The latest collaboration agreement is with Terray Therapeutics, which uses a computational approach to generate chemical data at scale to then apply to drug discovery. The target for this partnership is again focused on diseases of aging, which includes cancer, the companies stated.

Terray and Calico will work together to identify small molecule leads against a set of targets outlined by the latter company. Once the small molecule leads have been generated by Terray’s tNova platform, Calico will hold the responsibility of developing and commercializing any treatment.

In return, Terray will receive an unspecified upfront fee and be eligible to receive milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on net sales.

According to Terray, the tNova platform is “the world’s most powerful computation discovery platform,”​ and operates by running iterative cycles of virtual molecular design and biochemical measurement.

The platform uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to examine and learn from these models, which then guides the next cycle of design. Terray states that its chemistry engine is able to measure billions of chemical interactions daily.

The companies will use this process to map interactions between small molecules and disease targets. The platform will work from wet lab and drug development workflows to accelerate the process of discovering small molecule leads.

Terray launched in February 2022, with $60m (€61m) raised through a Series A financing round. Calico represents the first public partnership that Terray has announced.

For Calico, its approach has begun developing potential drug candidates that are progressing through trials. Calico partnered with AbbVie the following year after launch, and extended their collaboration last year. Both companies agreed to continue the partnership up to 2025, funding the agreement with a further $1bn.

As part of their partnership, the companies announced in July 2022 that the investigational drug, ABBV-CLS-7262, had entered the design phase for entry into the Healey ALS Platform Trial. This trial tested multiple investigational products to determine the potential new therapies for people living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

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