The pharmaceutical company that developed one of the vaccines for COVID-19, AstraZeneca, will partner with a United States-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) biologics firm, Absci, to design an antibody for cancer.
According to a Financial Times report on Dec. 3, AstraZeneca will invest up to $247 million in research and development, milestone payments and an upfront fee for Absci. The collaboration aims to create a zero-shot generative AI model, which would work on creating new antibody therapeutics for cancer and improving existing ones. The report didn’t specify the type or types of cancer involved.
Absci’s website claims its AI screens “billions of cells” each week, going from antibodies to wet “lab-validated candidates” in six weeks. At the moment, the company participates in 17 active projects. According to AstraZeneca senior vice-president, Puja Sapra:
“AI is enabling us to not only increase the success and speed of our biologics discovery process, but also enhance the diversity of the biologics we discover.”
Absci CEO Sean McClain had also publicly confirmed the partnership, stating that AstraZeneca will help to leverage its AI work, according to a Reuters report. Cointelegraph has contacted Absci for more information but hasn’t yet received a reply.
AI is gaining momentum in the healthcare industry, as it could significantly accelerate both innovative research and the accuracy of data analysis. In November, Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority revealed the launch of an AI pilot to combat multidrug-resistant organisms or superbugs. The AI will analyze clinical data to determine the necessity of prescribing antibiotics whose overuse caused the rise of resistant superbugs on the island.