AI Is Building Highly Effective Antibodies That Humans Can’t Even Imagine

Article by Amit Katwala: “Robots, computers, and algorithms are hunting for potential new therapies in ways humans can’t—by processing huge volumes of data and building previously unimagined molecules. At an old biscuit factory in South London, giant mixers and industrial ovens have been replaced by robotic arms, incubators, and DNA sequencing machines.

James Field and his company LabGenius aren’t making sweet treats; they’re cooking up a revolutionary, AI-powered approach to engineering new medical antibodies. In nature, antibodies are the body’s response to disease and serve as the immune system’s front-line troops. They’re strands of protein that are specially shaped to stick to foreign invaders so that they can be flushed from the system. Since the 1980s, pharmaceutical companies have been making synthetic antibodies to treat diseases like cancer, and to reduce the chance of transplanted organs being rejected. But designing these antibodies is a slow process for humans—protein designers must wade through the millions of potential combinations of amino acids to find the ones that will fold together in exactly the right way, and then test them all experimentally, tweaking some variables to improve some characteristics of the treatment while hoping that doesn’t make it worse in other ways. “If you want to create a new therapeutic antibody, somewhere in this infinite space of potential molecules sits the molecule you want to find,” says Field, the founder and CEO of LabGenius…(More)”.

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