QIMR Berghofer engages AI partner to fast-track cancer drug discovery

14 December 2023

QIMR Berghofer is partnering with Korean-based company, Syntekabio, to use their leading artificial intelligence (AI) and high performance computing to accelerate potential new treatments for cancer and chronic inflammation.

(From left) Syntekabio CEO Jeong Jong-seon, QIMR Berghofer Professor Sudha Rao and General Manager Business Development Dr Robert MacLachlan, and Syntekabio President Cho Hye-kyung

 Under a strategic drug development and commercialisation agreement signed in Seoul, Syntekabio will utilise its AI drug platform DeepMatcher® and their new AI Bio-Supercomputing (ABS) centre to rapidly identify drugs with potential to treat disease targets identified by Professor Sudha Rao and her team at QIMR Berghofer.

 Professor Rao’s lab has discovered a target enzyme thought to play a major role in a common type of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It’s hoped Syntekabio’s AI simulation platform will screen millions of potential drugs to rapidly develop an optimised drug candidate against the target.

 Professor Rao said artificial intelligence will slash the time taken to identify drugs from an average of six years to just one to two.

 “AI technology will be used to carry out an exhaustive search for the best drugs to fight different cancers and chronic inflammation. Machine learning will allow us to rapidly search through millions of potential drug combinations, testing their interactions and validity, and creating new, potentially transformative treatments for patients.”

 “The preferred drugs, identified by AI, will then move into clinical trials to be further validated and tested,” Professor Rao said.

Syntekabio AI Bio-Supercomputing Centre

 “This new approach to drug exploration and drug design has the potential to make a profound difference in the lives of patients with metastatic solid cancer and chronic inflammation who have limited treatment options.

 “At QIMR Berghofer we are on a mission to deliver new treatments and diagnostic tests that can allow personalised and more targeted interventions at the earliest opportunity – giving patients a better chance of fighting their cancer or chronic inflammation. This technology will allow us to do that,” Professor Rao said.


Ann Rainbow
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