The Potential of AI in Healthcare
Healthcare is one of the sectors likely to see the greatest benefits from the application of advanced AI. Companies like Insilico Medicine are leveraging AI to develop drugs faster, cheaper, and with fewer failures along the way. Insilico Medicine recently made headlines with the announcement of the first AI-developed drug entering phase 2 clinical trials.
Tackling Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
The drug developed by Insilico Medicine focuses on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), a chronic and often fatal disease that affects the lungs. By identifying a new target protein linked to IPF, Insilico stands out among other AI drug development companies. Using generative AI models, they were able to identify molecules that disrupt the activity of the target protein.
The Power of Generative AI
Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) and transformer AIs, such as those used in GPT-4, played a crucial role in the drug discovery process. Insilico employed around 500 generative AI models to design molecules that bind with the target protein effectively. These models competed to find the best molecule over a few days, with the top molecules being reviewed by human chemists.
Moving Towards Clinical Trials
The resulting molecules were tested for efficacy and safety in animals, including mice and dogs. By 2021, Insilico was ready for phase zero of the clinical trial process, conducting preliminary safety tests on healthy volunteers in Australia. This was followed by a thorough phase one clinical trial on healthy volunteers in New Zealand and China.
The Road to Phase Two
With positive results from the previous stages, Insilico is now moving forward with phase two, dosing patients with IPF in China and the USA. Finding a sufficient number of patients with good life expectancy remains a challenge, but the company is actively recruiting.
Reducing Failure Rates with AI
Insilico Medicine’s AI-driven drug development process has not only shortened the discovery and development timeline but also addresses the high failure rate of candidate molecules. With 99% of candidates failing, AI offers a promising solution to this challenge.
The Future of AI in Drug Development
The landscape of AI in drug development is undergoing consolidation, with only a few companies expected to survive. Insilico Medicine is among those likely to thrive, alongside established companies like Schrödinger Inc., which has transitioned from software to drug discovery.
Quantum computing holds immense potential for the field, and Insilico is already utilizing IBM’s 50 qubit machines. As AI continues to advance, the goal of curing aging becomes more attainable. While curing aging solely through pharmaceuticals may not be immediate, AI technologies like GPTs offer a deeper understanding of human biology, paving the way for extended healthy lives.