PostEra has entered into a long-term collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which is dedicated to developing small molecule antiviral therapies to prevent pandemics. As part of the agreement, PostEra will receive $68 million from the NIH for the discovery of new drugs using artificial intelligence (AI).
PostEra chief scientific officer Dr. Alpha Lee said: “We are honored to be co-leading this consortium. We believe that our AI platform will accelerate the discovery of therapeutics that will prevent pandemics.”
The company is leading this initiative in partnership with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, an international charity that develops drugs for worldwide access, and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
As part of the Structure-Enabled Antiviral Platform (ASAP) consortium, AI will be used to identify numerous lead compounds that can combat key pandemic viruses, including flaviviruses, picornaviruses, and coronaviruses.
NIH’s Antiviral Program for Pandemics includes the ASAP consortium.
Three IND-ready candidates will also be offered so that they can be quickly tested clinically during a viral outbreak to prevent the spread of severe pandemics.
A goal of the consortium is to make the resulting antivirals widely accessible and equitably priced.
Through the partnership, ASAP will utilize PostEra’s end-to-end AI-first approach to speed up the discovery process, designing molecules with improved properties, designing synthesis quickly, and prioritizing experiments appropriately.
Artificial intelligence techniques are well paired with structural biology to create next-generation structure-based designs.
Based on the success of a worldwide open-science AI-driven project known as the COVID Moonshot, ASAP quickly discovered antiviral drug candidates that target the main protease of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.