The autophagy-focused PAQ Therapeutics and Insilico Medicine – a top-flight artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company, announced that they are collaborating to develop small molecule therapies designed to hijack autophagy pathway to treat diseases.

Nan Ji, Ph.D., Co-founder, President, and CEO, PAQ Therapeutics, said, “As part of PAQ’s ongoing efforts to therapeutically harness autophagy-dependent degradation, one key next step is to integrate cutting-edge technologies like AI that support our overall hit-finding and drug discovery strategy. We are excited to leverage Insilico’s deep expertise and proven track record in AI-driven drug discovery during a pivotal time in our company’s growth and progress.”

PAQ’s autophagosome-tethering compound (ATTEC) technology platform in conjunction with Insilico’s small molecule compound generation platform Chemistry42 will be used to discover novel small molecules that will catalyze and selectively enhance the degradation of disease-causing entities.

Feng Ren, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Drug R&D at Insilico, said, “PAQ’s autophagy-dependent approach supports a pivotal moment in the evolution of drug discovery and design by expanding the ability to target the disease-causing substrates underlying diseases with limited or no treatment options. Insilico is pleased to partner with PAQ Therapeutics to leverage our AI-driven drug discovery platforms in advancing drug R&D of ATTECs to address unmet medical needs.”

A natural cellular degradation mechanism called autophagy removes unwanted or dysfunctional components through lysosomes. A powerful ATTEC platform by PAQ enables the use of autophagy as a therapeutic tool to combat diseases and restore health, not only targeting disease-causing proteins, but also lipids, pathogens, and other substrates. With Insilico’s AI-powered drug discovery platforms, deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other advanced machine learning techniques are used to streamline the generation of new molecular structures with specific properties, ultimately increasing the quality and efficiency of drug discovery.