Insilico Medicine is a clinical-stage artificial-intelligence (AI)-based research and development company seeking to discover new targets and develop new drugs to address drug development needs. They leverage artificial intelligence to find new drug targets and use that data to develop a molecule that can handle that target.
To put this into perspective, “traditional” drug discovery starts with thousands of molecules. Still, after endlessly testing these molecules, only one in ten goes on to commercial development and reaches the patient. This process takes over ten years of manual labor and billions of dollars of costs.
The use of artificial intelligence in this sector is revolutionary. Insilico started out with only 80 small molecules and completed all their laboratory tests in 18 months at a rough cost of $2,600,000 for the entire process. Check out the video below to see Insilico's process in developing AI for drug discovery.
Their latest drug that has passed Phase I studies is called INS018_55, and it is potentially the first drug in its class to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a disease affecting roughly 5 million people worldwide, resulting in unexplainable scarring of the lungs. The prognosis of IPF is fairly poor, with a median survival of 3-4 years after diagnosis; not to mention, there is also currently no approved treatment for the cure of IPF.
The tests on INS018_55 were conducted on 78 healthy volunteers in New Zealand, and safety and pharmacokinetic data was collected on those volunteers. The studies found that the drug was fairly safe and well tolerated by the healthy volunteers, with no deaths or significant adverse events reported during the study. Insilico Medicine has submitted this data to the United States Food and Drug Administration and is waiting to hear back about their approval. Upon their potential green light from the FDA, they will initiate Phase 2 studies.
Using AI in drug discovery and development has truly been astonishing to watch; what used to take us upwards of 10 years to develop one drug can be reduced to roughly 1.5 years. In addition to the time reduction, AI is also providing economic benefits as well. It will be fascinating to observe the future of drug development intersecting with artificial intelligence.