Phoremost and Thinkcyte partner on phenotypic drug discovery

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

© Andrew Brookes / Getty Images
© Andrew Brookes / Getty Images

Related tags Drug discovery Artificial intelligence

The partners have come together to apply artificial intelligence to phenotypic drug screening, with the aim of developing therapies in different therapeutics areas.

Phoremost will bring its Siteseeker phenotypic screening platform to bear on the task, while Thinkcyte will contribute Ghost Cytometry, which is an AI-driven cell characterization and sorting platform.

Both platforms are used for high-throughput drug discovery, and the partners expect the individual capabilities of both to create a more efficient means of discovering a broad range of novel targets. This could lead to the discovery and development of first-in-class therapeutic assets.

In terms of how the individual platforms operate, Phoremost’s Siteseeker is based on the company’s protein interference technology that probes the proteome to systematically unmask new druggable sites, directly linking them to specific therapeutic functions.

Thinkcyte’s Ghost Cytometry functions by identifying phenotypic changes in living cells, through image acquisition and machine learning-based classification, the platform can detect novel, disease-related phenotypes.

According to the partners, the collaboration will allow Thinkcyte to carry out more work in early-stage drug discovery, and Phoremost will be able to more effectively discover previously undruggable targets.

Phoremost already has three assets within its pipeline targeting indications in oncology and protein degradation, ranging from discovery to the preclinical stage. In addition, the company states that its Siteseeker platform has multiple target ID programs.

The UK company announced earlier this year that it had signed a drug discovery agreement with Roche​, with disease targets focused within hematology and immunology. 

At the time, Neil Torbett, CEO of Phoremost, explained to Outsourcing-Pharma how the technology operates: “The live cell phenotypic screening context essentially means that we are interrogating our PROTEINi libraries for their effects on a particular disease relevant phenotype. This can be as simple as screening for PROTEINi that kill cancer cells and not WT cells but of course can be deployed in multiple therapeutic areas. This aspect is essential for us to identify and progress drug targets with disease relevance.”​

The latest partnership with Phoremost represents the second research partnership Thinkcyte has agreed in December. Previously, it had agreed to work with Vision Care Group to develop cellular therapies using Ghost Cytometry.

During this agreement, the partners stated that they were looking to improve manufacturing and pre-transplant testing for retinal cell therapy transplantation. In this manner, the two companies outlined that it would be possible to develop cell-based therapies with superior therapeutic outcomes.

Related topics Clinical Development

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