Alphabet launches AI company to discover new drugs

Alphabet, Google's owner, has created an artificial intelligence company to find new drugs.
Isomorphic Labs, a UK-registered company, will use technology from DeepMind to speed up drug discovery and eventually, find cures for some the most deadly diseases in humanity, stated Demis Hassabis (head of DeepMind), in a blog post. He also stated that he would become chief executive at Isomorphic Labs.

DeepMind's AlphaFold2 technology was revealed by DeepMind in July to allow scientists around the globe to accurately predict the shapes of all proteins in the body.

DeepMinds can solve one of biology's most difficult problems by mapping the twists, turns and sequences of amino acids. This algorithm could replace or improve the tedious laboratory work required to determine the structure of proteins. These structures are what dictate their behavior.


Academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies are keen to make use of the DeepMind tool, which is available as an open-source resource.

Although it could speed up the discovery of innovative treatments, clinical trials can still take many years.

DeepMind stated that it will use the technology in order to discover treatments for Chagas disease (the most fatal of all diseases) and Leishmaniasis (the second most lethal).

Isomorphic Labs is a partnership with biomedical and pharmaceutical companies. It is currently looking for engineers, scientists, and machine-learning experts.

Hassabis said that biology can be considered an information processing system at its most basic level. However, it is complex and dynamic.

This perspective suggests that biology and information science may share a common structure, hence the company's name.

Hassabis believes that the lab will be able to use AI beyond AlphaFold2 in order to predict complex biological phenomena.

AlphaFold2 technology, and its database, has been trained on hundreds, if not thousands, of structures. It will be available for external use.

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