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by Sofia Villegas
20 March 2024
New AI tool to transform the pharmaceutical industry

New tool to accelerate drug discovery | Alamy

New AI tool to transform the pharmaceutical industry

A new artificial intelligence (AI) tool designed to “supercharge early-phase drug discovery” and improve patient outcomes has been developed by BioXcelerate. 

The new data science tool can analyse medical data 100 times faster than existing methods currently used to detect biological networks that explain disease risk and inform drug discovery.

Developed by BioXcelerate – a division of data consultants Optima Partners – the technology could significantly cut waiting times for better treatments and make drug discovery more cost effective. 

Heiko Runz, a scientific partner at Optima, said: “Drug development costs are on the rise and, coupled with a high failure rate, the development of new treatments has become drawn out and costly.

“By improving efficiencies in drug discovery, we hope to accelerate the emergence of novel medicines that positively impact patients’ lives and reach them more rapidly.”

By using BioXcelerate’s machine learning algorithms, the technology, named PleioGraph, analyses large amounts of biological data to help identify the genes, proteins and cells that interact with each other to cause disease – a process known as genetic colocalisation.

PleioGraph has processed datasets between 75 and 100 times faster than industry-leading methods, reducing time to insight from months to hours.

Chris Foley, managing director at BioXcelerate, said: “The scale of data available is outpacing our ability to analyse it. While patterns explaining how diseases occur are hidden within our ever-increasing data banks, AI technologies which quickly and accurately reveal these patterns are in short supply. At bioXcelerate, we are providing a solution to overcome these barriers. 

“Combining our academic expertise with our unmatched breadth of health data science knowledge, our PleioGraph technology provides an exciting, industry-leading tool to supercharge early-phase drug discovery and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes.”

Founded in 2023 by academics from institutions including the University of Edinburgh and the University of Oxford, BioXcelerate aims to bridge the gap between academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

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