Isomorphic Inks Strikes Drug Discovery Deals with Eli Lilly and Novartis

Isomorphic Labs, the London-based, drug discovery-focused spin-out of Google AI R&D division DeepMind, today announced that it’s entered into strategic partnerships with two pharmaceutical giants, Eli Lilly and Novartis, to apply AI to discover new medications to treat diseases. Isomorphic will receive $45 million upfront from Eli Lilly and potentially up to $1.7 billion based on performance milestones, excluding royalties. Researchers recently used AlphaFold to design and synthesize a potential drug to treat hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of primary liver cancer. The latest version of AlphaFold can generate predictions for nearly all molecules in the Protein Data Bank, the world’s largest open access database of biological molecules, DeepMind announced in late October. Already, Isomorphic is applying the new AlphaFold model, which it co-designed with DeepMind, to therapeutic drug design, helping to characterize different types of molecular structures important for treating disease.

Isomorphic Labs, the London-based drug discovery-focused spin-out of Google AI R&D division DeepMind, has announced exciting strategic partnerships with two pharmaceutical giants, Eli Lilly and Novartis. Through these partnerships, Isomorphic will utilize AI technology to discover new medications for treating diseases. These deals are valued at a combined total of approximately $3 billion.

Eli Lilly has agreed to an initial investment of $45 million, with the potential for up to $1.7 billion in performance-based milestones, excluding royalties. Similarly, Novartis has committed to an initial investment of $37.5 million, as well as funding for select research costs and potential performance incentives of up to $1.2 billion, excluding royalties.

“We’re thrilled to embark on this partnership and apply our proprietary technology platform,” stated DeepMind co-founder and Isomorphic CEO Demis Hassabis in a press release. “The focus we share on advancing groundbreaking drug design approaches and appreciation of state-of-the-art science makes these partnerships particularly compelling.”

Fiona Marshall, president of biomedical research at Novartis, echoed this excitement, stating, “Cutting-edge AI technologies have the potential to transform how we discover new drugs and accelerate our ability to deliver life-changing medicines for patients. This collaboration harnesses our companies’ unique strengths, from AI and data science to medicinal chemistry and deep disease area expertise, to realize new possibilities in AI-driven drug discovery.”

Isomorphic, a company launched in 2021 under parent company Alphabet’s DeepMind, leverages the advanced AlphaFold 2 AI technology developed by DeepMind. This technology has the capability to predict the structure of proteins in the human body, allowing researchers to identify new target pathways for drug development.

Recently, AlphaFold was used to design and synthesize a potential drug for treating hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of primary liver cancer. Additionally, DeepMind is collaborating with the nonprofit pharmaceutical organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative to use AlphaFold in developing therapeutics for Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis, both deadly diseases prevalent in the developing world.

DeepMind announced in late October that the latest version of AlphaFold can generate predictions for nearly all molecules in the Protein Data Bank, the world’s largest open access database of biological molecules. The technology can also accurately predict the structures of ligands, nucleic acids, and post-translational modifications— all important components in drug discovery.

Isomorphic is already using the new AlphaFold model, co-designed with DeepMind, in therapeutic drug design, specifically in characterizing various molecular structures essential for treating diseases. With these groundbreaking partnerships and advanced AI technology, Isomorphic is well-positioned to make significant advancements in the field of drug discovery.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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