A.I. in speeding up pharma… slow start but will accelerate

July 03

The first fully A.I.-generated drug enters clinical trials in human patients

A medicine entirely produced by artificial intelligence (AI), developed by a Hong Kong biotech startup called Insilico Medicine, has begun clinical trials with human patients. The drug, named INS018_055, aims to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a serious disease that scars the lungs and affects around 100,000 people in the U.S. 

This AI-generated drug is the first of its kind to reach the stage of Phase II trials in humans. The company also has two other drugs partially produced by AI in clinical trials, one for Covid-19 and another for cancer. 

Insilico started working on the drug in 2020 with the goal to develop a groundbreaking medicine that could better address this lung disease, as current treatments only slow down its progress and come with unpleasant side effects. 

The ongoing study of the IPF drug is being conducted over 12 weeks in China, with plans to expand to the U.S., involving 60 participants in 40 locations. If this second phase trial succeeds, the study will continue with more participants, potentially leading to Phase III trials with hundreds of people. 

Although it's hard to determine the exact timeline for the completion of all stages of trials, the company hopes the drug will be available to patients within the next few years.

I hope that this technology accelerates the search for cures in autoimmune diseases.


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,608

    Bring it on!

    Acrually, I don't think it'll be any use to me but, if pharma are willing to provide a potential cure rather than lots of lucrative meds I might learn to love 'em😆

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 413

    @stickywicket You have managed life with the condition magnificently, and set a great example, but there may be others who have not been so lucky, for which alternative options that human docs can’t or won’t think of could be a great help. Still, if a cure does come along, I am sure it would help you too!

    There was another recent AI discovery of an antibiotic (abaucin) that would work against on one of the most problematic species of bacteria - Acinetobacter baumannii, which can infect wounds and cause pneumonia.

    Unlike most human discovered antibiotics, which tend to be too broad spectrum, this one specifically targets this bacterium. AI could screen tens of millions of potential compounds - something that would be impractical to do manually.

    As for lucrative medicines, I am afraid that’s baked into how modern medical education works. Med schools today are based on John D. Rockefeller’s (yes that oil magnate) desire for profit, and using his foundation to fund medical schools that taught medicine his way ie, diagnose and treat the defect, for which a solution can be bought from one of the pharmas he had an interest in. This put prevention and nutrition into very low priority, instead taught in favour of treatments. Granted at the turn of the century teaching of medicine was haphazard and expensive, (see Flexner Report) deeply in need of reform, but to chuck away as quackery the preventative approach that thinking docs profess, like Dr Tim Spector, just because it did not result in the sale of a lucrative pharmaceutical is rather tragic.