Atomwise Awards Support Academic Researchers
Published: Jun 07, 2018 By Don McCormick
Atomwise, Inc., a leader in using artificial intelligence (AI) for drug screening and design, is now accepting applications for their 2018 Artificial Intelligence Molecular Screen (AIMS) awards. The awards support academic researchers in a wide variety of fields, from human and animal health to crop protection.
Each award provides the researcher with access to the company’s patented AI screening technology, which is used to predict the binding of more than 10 million small molecules to a protein of interest. As part of the award, a subset of small molecules that are potential candidates for drug development is shipped to the researcher in a format ready for testing at no cost.
Using their technology, Atomwise can screen 40 million compounds per day, making it possible to compress years of research into just a few weeks. Drug discovery was once restricted to a handful of laboratories with specialized equipment, large budgets and in-house computational chemistry teams; with this award, screening can now be performed by nearly any research lab.
Last year, 100 academic projects received an award.
"With this award I was able to pursue an exciting idea for targeting a highly pathogenic porcine virus and obtain additional funding support,” said University of Connecticut Assistant Professor of Animal Science Dr. Young Tang about his 2017 AIMS Award. “I am hopeful that this research will lead to the discovery of a small molecule that can effectively block entry of this virus; this could have an enormous impact on animal well-being.”
Atomwise has also worked on a variety of challenging drug targets and found success where other efforts have failed.
“One research group had a very difficult time inhibiting the action of a protein they knew had a crucial role in multiple sclerosis,” said Atomwise CEO Abraham Heifets, PhD. “The group could not find a therapy that had a clinical path forward. We were able to discover a small molecule that blocks a key protein-protein interaction. This molecule was shown to be an effective treatment in a mouse model of the disease.” That compound has since been licensed to a pharmaceutical company in a confidential deal.
Following the completion of projects funded by the 2017 AIMS awards, Atomwise will have screened more than a billion protein-small molecule interactions, and researchers will have received over 7,000 compounds for a variety of diseases, including multiple types of cancer, metabolic disorders, neurological diseases, and serious infections.
Because of the enthusiastic response of academic researchers to the AIMS Awards, Atomwise will use a significant portion of its recent $45 million Series A funding to expand the program. Now, even more researchers will have the opportunity to discover small molecules to improve the well-being of humans and animals.
To apply for the AIMS Award, visit www.atomwise.com/aims-awards.