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A.I. Finding Cancer Treatments in Generic Drugs

Pills and capsules

(stevepb, Pixabay)

5 Aug. 2019. An organization seeking cancer treatments in off-patent generic drugs is partnering with a life science analytics company using artificial intelligence for drug discovery. Financial details of the collaboration between the group Cures Within Reach for Cancer in Boston and Innoplexus AG in Eschborn, Germany were not disclosed.

Cures Within Reach for Cancer is a two year-old organization looking for new cancer therapies among the many generic drugs on the market. Generic drugs are formerly branded treatments for which patents expired, and are offered by third-party drug makers usually at a fraction of the original cost. The group says more than 200 generic drugs, all approved by FDA to treat certain diseases and with proven safety records, have potential as cancer therapies.

But without clear evidence of efficacy against a type of cancer, drug makers are reluctant to spend the money on further development, including expensive clinical trials. To help provide the evidence, Cures Within Reach for Cancer is developing an automated drug discovery system called Oncology Repurposing Engine. or ORE, that synthesizes and assesses scientific literature and real-world evidence to highlight data supporting development of generics as cancer treatments.

ORE already applies artificial intelligence to its discovery of cancer treatments, but the collaboration with Innoplexus aims to significantly bolster that capability.  Innoplexus uses machine learning and computer vision to learn and process a enormous store of drug discovery data the company calls its life science ocean. This so-called ocean captures data from a wide variety of unstructured sources starting with scientific publications, but also millions of patents, conference presentations, blog and forum postings, dissertations, clinical trials, genetic data, grant awards, and news releases.

Cures Within Reach for Cancer is expected to apply its ORE system to the Innoplexus life science knowledge base to find evidence of potential cancer efficacy among off-patent generic drugs. The collaboration is expected to reduce search and analytical efforts that would normally take years to hours. Innoplexus also plans to create dashboards for Cures Within Reach for Cancer that visualize trends and highlight new data contributions.

Any new discoveries among generic drugs can be candidates for faster development as cancer treatments than new therapies. Because generic drugs were previously tested and approved for other disorders, they have an established safety record, and may need only a single clinical trial to provide evidence of efficacy.

“Innoplexus’s technology will help accelerate the development of our Oncology Repurposing Engine,” says Laura Kleiman, Cures Within Reach for Cancer founder and executive director in an Innoplexus statement. “Innoplexus was founded and remains dedicated to leveraging its A.I. to fundamentally transform drug discovery and development, to create a positive impact in the lives of patients and their loved ones,” adds Gunjan Bhardwaj, Innoplexus founder and CEO.

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