AstraZeneca Collaborates with AI Firm in Search for Cancer Treatment

AstraZeneca partners with Absci to develop cancer antibody using AI technology, investing up to $247 million in the collaboration.

Dec 4, 2023 - 12:14
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AstraZeneca Collaborates with AI Firm in Search for Cancer Treatment
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AstraZeneca, known for its COVID-19 vaccine development, is entering a partnership with U.S.-based AI biologics company Absci to develop an antibody for cancer treatment. As reported by the Financial Times on December 3, AstraZeneca plans to invest up to $247 million in this collaboration, which includes research and development, milestone payments, and an upfront fee.

The partnership focuses on creating a zero-shot generative AI model to innovate new cancer antibody therapeutics and enhance existing ones, although the specific cancer types targeted were not disclosed.

Absci's technology, as detailed on its website, involves screening billions of cells weekly, rapidly progressing from antibodies to lab-validated candidates within six weeks. Currently, Absci is engaged in 17 active projects. Puja Sapra, AstraZeneca's senior vice-president, highlighted the role of AI in improving the success rate and speed of biologics discovery, as well as diversifying the biologics developed:

“AI is enabling us to not only increase the success and speed of our biologics discovery process, but also enhance the diversity of the biologics we discover.”

Absci CEO Sean McClain has confirmed the partnership with AstraZeneca, which aims to advance their AI initiatives, as reported by Reuters. While further details from Absci are awaited, the use of AI in healthcare is increasingly recognized for its potential to speed up research and enhance data analysis accuracy.

This includes recent initiatives like Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority deploying AI to tackle multidrug-resistant organisms by analyzing clinical data for antibiotic prescriptions, addressing the challenge of superbugs.

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