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Can AI reinvent drug design?

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    For more than 90 years, UCB has been dedicated to research and innovation. Our medicines have helped to improve the lives of people around the world living with severe diseases. Along the way, we have stayed at the cutting edge of science, taking an open and collaborative approach to innovation.

    In our quest to address unmet patient needs, we embrace new partnerships – and the latest technologies – to explore novel approaches to drug discovery. That is why we have teamed up with Iktos, a company specialising in artificial intelligence (AI), to accelerate the process of finding new therapies.

    Drug discovery can be a complex and challenging process. While the success stories are well known – they are delivering value to patients every day – there are many candidate medicines that do not make it through the long, challenging and expensive journey from bench to bedside.

    It takes 10-15 years from early-stage discovery to marketing authorisation. For many patients, this is time they do not have. And, of course, all of this is costly. 

    AI has the potential to accelerate this process and make it significantly more efficient. UCB and Iktos will use state-of-the-art compound design technology to speed up drug discovery in neurology and immunology. As part of an exciting new partnership, our medicinal chemists and computer aided drug design (CADD) scientists will be working with Iktos experts on small molecule drug discovery projects.

    Computer models will help to make drug design faster and more efficient by identifying compounds with a higher chance of ultimately becoming effective therapies. The potential of AI to reinvent drug design may have sounded like science fiction a decade ago, but it is fast becoming a vital catalyst for real-world research on much-needed new treatments.

    We are very excited about working with Iktos to apply the power of this technology to UCB small molecule discovery projects to bring patient value faster.

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