Tech empowers drug research and development

Writer: Chen Siqi  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-03-30

Traditionally, developing a new drug would take over 10 years, requiring investment of more than US$1 billion and will only earn a 1% payback. However, XtalPi Inc. has developed a new mode that might make a disruptive breakthrough to new drug research and development (R&D), Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported yesterday.

The model integrates advanced technologies, including integrated AI, quantum physics, intelligent manufacturing and robotics.

XtalPi, founded in 2014, is a technology innovator with an integrated platform that accelerates biopharmaceutical research. Looking upon the advantages in Shenzhen’s industries and talents, the founders decided to settle the company at the Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Zone (HTCZ).

The company focuses on addressing procedures and difficulties that can improve the research efficiency in computing simulation, gradually forming an AI platform that can discover a new drug.

“AI accelerated the key steps of new drug R&D, such as target discovery, compound design and generation, clinical experimental design and outcome prediction in order to shorten the cycle, lower the cost and increase the rate of success in drug R&D,” Zhang Peiyu, chief scientific officer of XtalPi, said.

A world well-known pharmaceutical company reached out to XtalPi, asking for help about a bottleneck in discovering a new drug based on the targets of an aging disease, which cannot be cured by current drug therapy. In the absence of sufficient data, XtalPi developers figured out a molecule that might have high reactivity, making full use of the company’s high-precision algorithm platform.

“The foreign clients gave us a great recognition to our capabilities in drug discovery,” Zhang said. The project has been moving forward, with continuous optimization.

Riding the advantages of its accurate and high-efficient algorithm, XtalPi has reached cooperation with multiple international pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer.

XtalPi has been approved to be built into Shenzhen’s AI drug research center, a major public service platform and Guangdong’s AI and medical drugs application engineering research center and has incubated a batch of innovative enterprises. A batch of companies in the industry chain have gathered in Shenzhen and HTCZ, boosting breakthroughs in drug therapy for Chinese pharmaceutical companies.