Facio Therapies announces AI collaboration for FSHD drug design

pharmafile | May 11, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production AI, drug discovery 

Facio Therapies and Iktos have announced a collaboration to apply Iktos’s generative modelling artificial intelligence (AI) technology in one of Facio’s facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) drug discovery programs.

As part of the collaboration, Iktos will use its ligand and structure-based generative modelling technologies to expedite the identification of potential pre-clinical candidates and to identify additional novel chemical matter with suitable properties.

Facio Therapies was founded by people affected by FSHD, a skeletal muscle wasting disease that affects 800,000 people worldwide, and therefore has a tight focus on developing a therapy for this specific disorder.

In a statement, Joris De Maeyer, CEO of Facio Therapies, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Iktos to our growing network of partnerships. Their capabilities complement our existing R&D collaborations, including our long-standing and successful partnership with Evotec, to support the growth of our FSHD portfolio.”

Iktos’s AI technology is based on deep generative models, a comprehensive, data-driven structure generation technology. It automates the design of novel drug molecule candidates that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters such as potency, selectivity, safety, and additional project-specific properties.

Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and CEO of Iktos, said: “We are confident that together with Facio and their established R&D partners, we will be able to identify promising novel chemical matter and solve complex multiparametric optimisation problems.

“The feedback from Facio’s research team will be highly valuable as we improve our product offerings. Our strategy has always been to tackle challenging problems alongside our collaborators where we can demonstrate value generation for new and on-going drug discovery projects”.

Currently, there are no permanent forms of therapy available for FSHD treatment, only temporary symptomatic relief. FSHD causes a loss of muscle strength which leads to pain, fatigue, social isolation, with 20% of people with the disorder ending up in a wheelchair.

Kat Jenkins

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