AI-driven platform identifies novel ulcerative colitis target

BenevolentAI has idenitifed a preclinical candidate for a novel ulcerative colitis target. It is in IND/CTA-enabling studies and the company plans to advance it to move the programme into the clinic in early 2023.

Scientists deployed BenevolentAI’s target ID tools and machine learning models to identify and experimentally validate a novel biological target with no prior reference in published literature or patents linking the gene to ulcerative colitis.  

BenevolentAI used its advanced molecular design capabilities to generate a potential best-in-class, oral, peripherally restricted candidate drug within two years of target validation. The preclinical candidate has been experimentally validated in ex-vivo ulcerative colitis colon samples from patients who were unresponsive to the standard of care treatment. 

BenevolentAI is currently applying its precision medicine AI models to inform clinical trial design, trained on ulcerative colitis patient data to target key responder patient cohorts and identify efficacy biomarkers. 

Anne Phelan, Chief Scientific Officer at BenevolentAI, said: “Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, lifelong disease that affects 0.2% of the US population alone and 1.6 million patients in the seven major markets, yet it is poorly served by the standard of care therapies. Our novel preclinical candidate addresses the high unmet need for an oral, safe and efficacious therapy and has demonstrated improved safety and tolerability profile compared with other leading IBD treatments. We are actively using patient-derived molecular descriptors to target patient subgroups that will optimise trial design and further increase our probability of success.” 

According to Benevolent AI, this latest milestone in ulcerative colitis further validates its platform and drug discovery expertise in identifying novel targets for complex multifactorial diseases. As of 2021, BenevolentAI says it is the only AI-augmented drug discovery company whose drug discovery platform and approach has been validated computationally, experimentally and in the clinic. 

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