AI platform compresses time to identify COVID-19 treatments

The collaborators identified repurposing opportunities targeting the human proteome with a 62% success rate in these studies. Additionally, 70% of the top-ranked candidates targeting the virus were shown to bind viral proteins

Scipher Medicine, a precision immunology company, has announced novel drug opportunities for COVID-19, in collaboration with Northeastern University; Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Boston University’s National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL). The company claims its approach can be rapidly applied to novel drug discovery for emerging viruses.

The results were published both in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Life Science Alliance. By applying network biology and an AI platform to clinico-genomic patient data, the research was compressed from three years to two months, Scipher says. This process Is hoped to represent an advancement in developing and testing an effective cure against diseases.

“The fact that we were able to predict repurposing opportunities with high accuracy is impressive and further demonstrates the validity of Scipher’s platform to discover novel drug treatments. It was a privilege for Scipher to closely collaborate with the Center for Complex Network Research at Northeastern University in this project,” said Slava Akmaev, PhD, CTO, and Head of Therapeutics at Scipher.

The collaborators identified repurposing opportunities targeting the human proteome with a 62% success rate in these studies. Additionally, 70% of the top-ranked candidates targeting the virus were shown to bind viral proteins. The authors also noted while the results predicted disease manifestations in parts of the body that are consistent with clinical observations, such as recently reported neurological issues, the appearance in multiple reproductive system tissues as well as spleen was unexpected, potentially related to disruptions in the regulation of the immune system.

The company is now leveraging proprietary network biology and AI platform Spectra, together with clinico-genomic data from its molecular diagnostic testing business, to create precision therapeutics in autoimmune diseases, targeting specific patient populations with tailored therapeutics.

“Spectra’s proven ability to discover drug targets from patient data is unique in the industry,” said Alif Saleh, CEO of Scipher Medicine. “Our next objective is to leverage Spectra’s capabilities in pharma collaborations to transform drug discovery in autoimmune diseases and make the development process faster, more cost-effective, and predictable.”