22.3 C
New York
Friday, May 24, 2024

New AI Model for Drug Discovery Announced by Google DeepMind

Google DeepMind has introduced the third major iteration of its “AlphaFold” artificial intelligence model, aimed at aiding scientists in the efficient design of drugs and targeted disease treatment.

In a groundbreaking development in 2020, the company achieved a significant milestone in molecular biology by employing AI to accurately predict the behavior of tiny proteins.

The latest version of AlphaFold represents a significant leap forward. Researchers at DeepMind and its sister company, Isomorphic Labs, both under the leadership of cofounder Demis Hassabis, have now mapped out the behavior of all molecules essential for life, including human DNA.

The interactions of proteins – from enzymes crucial to the human metabolism, to the antibodies that fight infectious diseases – with other molecules is key to drug discovery and development.

DeepMind said the findings, published in research journal Nature on Wednesday, would reduce the time and money needed to develop potentially life-changing treatments.

“With these new capabilities, we can design a molecule that will bind to a specific place on a protein, and we can predict how strongly it will bind,” Hassabis said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

“It’s a critical step if you want to design drugs and compounds that will help with disease.”

The company also announced the release of the “AlphaFold server”, a free online tool that scientists can use to test their hypotheses before running real-world tests.

Since 2021, AlphaFold’s predictions have been freely accessible to non-commercial researchers, as part of a database containing more than 200 million protein structures, and has been cited thousands of times in others’ work.

DeepMind said the new server required less computing knowledge, allowing researchers to run tests with just a few clicks of a button.

John Jumper, a senior research scientist at DeepMind, said: “It’s going to be really important how much easier the AlphaFold server makes it for biologists – who are experts in biology, not computer science – to test larger, more complex cases.”

Dr Nicole Wheeler, an expert in microbiology at the University of Birmingham, said AlphaFold 3 could significantly speed up the drug discovery pipeline, as “physically producing and testing biological designs is a big bottleneck in biotechnology at the moment”.

Latest Posts

Don't Miss

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.