Brendan Frey. Deep Genomics

Cana­di­an star re­searcher Bren­dan Frey bran­dish­es Deep Ge­nomic­s' first AI-dis­cov­ered drug

A start­up har­ness­ing AI in drug dis­cov­ery has put for­ward its first ther­a­peu­tic can­di­date — and it may not be who you’re think­ing.

To be sure, Deep Ge­nomics still has a ways to go in pre­lim­i­nary an­i­mal work to en­sure safe­ty and non-hu­man pri­mate as well as biodis­tri­b­u­tion be­fore they can move in­to clin­i­cal test­ing. But the fact that its AI sys­tem was able to go from tar­get iden­ti­fi­ca­tion to de­clar­ing a win­ner in 18 months, said CEO Bren­dan Frey, is a game-chang­er.

Frey found­ed Deep Ge­nomics in Toron­to in 2014, a cou­ple years af­ter more well-known play­ers such as Atom­wise, Benev­o­len­tAI and Re­cur­sion popped up, based on a decade of re­search on how AI can help sci­en­tists un­der­stand ge­net­ic dis­eases. While oth­er plat­forms have tend­ed to ze­ro in on one part of the puz­zle — Atom­wise is fo­cused on ac­cel­er­at­ing small mol­e­cule screen­ing, Re­cur­sion re­lies on cell imag­ing, and in­sil­i­co us­es AI to mod­i­fy ex­ist­ing drugs — its tech “does the whole thing.”

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