French start-up company Iktos has entered into a research collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceutica to deploy its artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help the latter increase speed and efficiency of its small molecule drug discovery.
Under the collaboration, Iktos virtual drug design technology will be implemented and applied to various Janssen small molecule drug discovery programs.
The French firm will collaborate with the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary to develop new applications, by tapping into its expertise in deep generative models applied to chemistry and the pharma company’s knowledge in AI-enabled prediction of small molecule activities.
Iktos’ AI technology, which is based on deep generative models, is said to bring in speed and efficiency to the drug discovery process through the automatic design of virtual novel molecules that have desired activities for the treatment of a given disease.
The technology is said to address a major challenge in drug design, which is rapid identification of molecules which simultaneously satisfy various bioactivity and drug-like criteria for clinical testing.
The French firm is also developing a technology for in silico drug design, which it says can potentially bring in vast improvements in drug discovery workflows. The company said that the in silico drug design can achieve them based on its capacity to explore chemical space with both speed and efficiency, thereby helping in the identification of molecules that match the desired criteria in a given research program.
Iktos CEO Yann Gaston-Mathé said: “It is a major recognition for Iktos to be selected by Janssen as a partner for implementation and development of generative modeling technology for new drug design.
“Iktos has been a pioneer in the application of generative models for drug discovery and is emerging as a world leader in a technology that has the potential to disrupt the way new therapeutics are designed.”
Last month, the French company collaborated with Merck to use its generative modeling AI technology to enable the pharma giant achieve rapid and cost-effective discovery and design of promising new compounds.
The start-up has similar collaborations with other pharma companies like DnDi, Servier, Pierre Fabre Laboratories, Galapagos and Orion.