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Boehringer Ingelheim Collaborates with IBM to Revolutionize Antibody Discovery Using AI

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Boehringer Ingelheim, a global pharmaceutical company, and IBM, a technology leader, have announced a groundbreaking collaboration aimed at transforming the discovery of novel therapeutic antibodies using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Boehringer Ingelheim and IBM are joining forces to leverage IBM’s foundation model technologies for the rapid and efficient discovery of candidate antibodies. This collaboration represents a significant step towards revolutionizing in-silico biologic drug discovery.

Andrew Nixon, Global Head of Biotherapeutics Discovery at Boehringer Ingelheim, expressed his excitement about this collaboration, emphasizing the shared vision of making in-silico biologic drug discovery a reality. He believes that this partnership with IBM scientists will create an unprecedented platform for accelerated antibody discovery, ultimately leading to new treatments for patients with high unmet medical needs.

IBM and Boehringer Ingelheim to Reshape Therapeutic Antibody Development

Boehringer Ingelheim will harness the power of IBM’s pre-trained AI model, which will be further refined using Boehringer’s proprietary data. This AI model has been designed to extend AI’s capabilities beyond language processing. It will enable Boehringer to expedite the creation of new therapeutic antibodies, significantly reducing the time and complexity of the discovery process.

Therapeutic antibodies play a pivotal role in treating various diseases, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, and infectious diseases. However, the traditional process of discovering and developing these antibodies is intricate and time-consuming.

The collaboration between Boehringer and IBM aims to accelerate antibody discovery through in-silico methods. They will utilize disease-relevant target information, including sequence, structure, and molecular profiles, as well as criteria for successful antibody molecules. These data will serve as the foundation for generating new human antibody sequences using IBM’s foundation model technologies.

Antibody Discovery

Boehringer Ingelheim Leverages AI and IBM’s Expertise for Antibody Discovery

IBM’s foundation model technologies have a track record of generating biologics and small molecules with high target affinities. The generated antibody candidates will undergo AI-enhanced simulations to identify and refine the most suitable binders for the target. Boehringer Ingelheim will produce these antibody candidates at a small scale and conduct laboratory experiments to validate their efficacy. The results will be used to enhance the in-silico methods through iterative feedback loops, ensuring continuous improvement.

Boehringer’s collaboration with leading academic and industry partners is part of its broader initiative to establish a digital ecosystem that accelerates drug discovery and development, offering new opportunities to transform patients’ lives. This collaboration is part of IBM’s ongoing efforts to use generative AI and foundation models to expedite the discovery and development of biologics and small molecules. Earlier this year, IBM’s generative AI model successfully predicted the physicochemical properties of drug-like small molecules.

IBM’s biomedical foundation model technologies draw on a wide range of publicly available data sets, including protein-protein interactions and drug-target interactions. These pre-trained models are then fine-tuned using specific proprietary data, resulting in the creation of proteins and small molecules tailored to meet specific requirements.


Resource:  Boehringer Ingelheim, November 28, 2023

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