2020-11-22| R&D

BioMarin Collaborates with Canadian Biotech for AI-based Drug Discovery

by Rajaneesh K. Gopinath
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On November 17th, BioMarin Pharmaceuticals announced that it is collaborating with Toronto-based Deep Genomics to utilize the latter’s proprietary artificial-intelligence-based drug discovery platform to unravel new drugs for rare diseases. Deep Genomics will initially identify short pieces of DNA or RNA, also termed oligonucleotides, to aid drug development. Once they identify lead targets, BioMarin will take over and move these drugs into clinical trials.

The collaborators are keeping the financial details under wraps, but industry insiders think that Deep Genomics will eventually receive an upfront payment and pre-determined milestone payments that are quite similar to deals struck with other AI-based companies.

Lon Cardon, Chief Scientific Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President at BioMarin, said, “We are thrilled to collaborate with Deep Genomics, a leader in AI-facilitated discovery and development of potential oligonucleotide-based therapeutics, and to tap into their AI Workbench to unlock the potential of exciting new drug targets for rare diseases. We believe the combination of Deep Genomics’ experience in using artificial intelligence to creatively modulate targets coupled with our proven track record in developing transformational medicines for patients with rare diseases will speed BioMarin’s trajectory into new biological frontiers.”

“We share BioMarin’s pioneering spirit in drug discovery and are delighted to partner with them. Our second-generation AI Workbench continues to unlock a rapidly growing number of therapeutic opportunities for patients with genetically defined disorders,” said Brendan Frey, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Deep Genomics. “BioMarin is an industry leader in developing transformational therapies for patients with rare diseases, and we look forward to working with them to expand their clinical pipeline.”


Rising Trend of AI-Based Collaborations

Of late, collaborations with AI-based companies have become a popular trend with several small to big companies. Insilico Medicine’s agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. and Taisho Pharmaceutical Co. and Genentech’s partnerships with Imbio and Genesis Therapeutics are some of the major collaborations to have hit the headlines recently.

Insitro, an AI-based company headquartered in San Francisco, signed a three-year contract with Gilead Sciences last year for developing treatments for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. The deal was initially worth approximately $15 million upfront but might well reach more than $1 billion based on promising results. More recently, Recursion pharmaceuticals, based out of Utah, inked a deal with German biopharma giant Bayer for developing treatments to combat fibrotic diseases. Bayer paid Recursion an upfront payment of $30 million and coughed up a further $50 million to their Series D financing round.

By T. Chakraborty, Ph.D.

Editor: Rajaneesh K. Gopinath, Ph.D.

Related Article: Insilico’s AI Pipeline for Drug Discovery To Grow with New Partnership



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