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Google’s parent company sets up AI-driven drug discovery start-up

San Francisco, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has formed a new start-up devoted to medication development using artificial intelligence. 

Isomorphic Laboratories, a new Alphabet subsidiary, will build on the achievement of DeepMind, which utilised AI to predict a protein’s 3D shape directly from its amino acid sequence.

“I’m thrilled to announce the creation of a new Alphabet company — Isomorphic Labs — a commercial venture with the mission to reimagine the entire drug discovery process from the ground up with an AI-first approach and, ultimately, to model and understand some of the fundamental mechanisms of life,” DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis wrote in a blog post.

During the initial phase, Hassabis will also act as CEO of Isomorphic, although the two firms will remain distinct and collaborate where appropriate. 

Isomorphic Labs, situated in London, will focus on the most critical uses of AI in biological and medical research.

“…there may be a common underlying structure between biology and information science — an isomorphic mapping between the two — hence the name of the company,” Hassabis said.

The start-up wants to employ artificial intelligence to speed up medication discovery and, in the end, find treatments for some of humanity’s most deadly diseases.

“The pandemic has brought to the fore the vital work that brilliant scientists and clinicians do every day to understand and combat disease. We believe that the foundational use of cutting edge computational and AI methods can help scientists take their work to the next level, and massively accelerate the drug discovery process,” Hassabis said. 

“As pioneers in the emerging field of ‘digital biology’, we look forward to helping usher in an amazingly productive new age of biomedical breakthroughs,” Hassabis noted.

The new firm also intends to collaborate with the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries to identify new medical breakthroughs by integrating artificial intelligence.

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