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.