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First-Ever AI-Generated Drug Enters Phase II Clinical Trials

First-Ever AI-Generated Drug Enters Phase II Clinical Trials

Insilico Medicine, a biotech company based in Hong Kong, has unveiled the first-ever medicine completely developed using artificial intelligence (AI). The drug, code-named INS018_055, has been engineered to combat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a long-term disease responsible for extensive lung scarring. It is now set to enter clinical trials with human subjects, as reported by CNBC.

“It is the first fully generative AI drug to reach human clinical trials, and specifically Phase II trials with patients,” Alex Zhavoronkov, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine, said. “While there are other AI-designed drugs in trials, ours is the first drug with both a novel AI-discovered target and a novel AI-generated design.”

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis has grown more prevalent in recent years. It now affects approximately 100,000 individuals nationwide, and an estimated five million people globally. If left untreated, the disease can prove fatal within two to five years, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Insilico Medicine initially focused on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis given its significant impact on the aging process, but the company is simultaneously developing two other drugs that are partially created using AI. One of them works to counteract Covid-19 and is currently in Phase I of clinical trials. The other, a cancer drug considered a “USP1 inhibitor for the treatment of solid tumors,” has recently received FDA approval, giving Insilico Medicine the green light to commence clinical trials for that drug as well.

“When this company was launched, we were focused on algorithms — developing the technology that could discover and design new molecules,” Zhavoronkov said. “I never imagined in those early days that I would be taking my own AI drugs into clinical trials with patients. But we realized that in order to validate our AI platform, we needed to not only design a new drug for a new target, but bring it into clinical trials to prove that our technology worked.”

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