Google DeepMind unveils the next generation of its artificial intelligence model for drug discovery

Google DeepMind unveils the next generation of its artificial intelligence model for drug discovery
Google DeepMind unveils the next generation of its artificial intelligence model for drug discovery

Google DeepMind has unveiled the third major version of its “AlphaFold” artificial intelligence model, designed to help scientists design drugs and target diseases more effectively.

In 2020, the company made a significant breakthrough in molecular biology by using AI to successfully predict the behavior of microscopic proteins.

With the latest version of AlphaFold, researchers at DeepMind and its sister company Isomorphic Labs – both overseen by co-founder Demis Hassabis – have mapped the behavior of all molecules of life, including human DNA.

The interactions of proteins – from enzymes essential to human metabolism to antibodies that fight infectious diseases – with other molecules are essential to drug discovery and development.

DeepMind said the findings, published in the journal Nature, would help reduce the time and money needed to develop potentially life-changing treatments for patients.

With these new capabilities, we can design a molecule that will bind to a specific location on a protein, and we can predict the strength of that binding, Hassabis said at a news conference Tuesday.

This is a crucial step if we want to design drugs and compounds that will help fight disease.

The company also announced the launch of AlphaFold Server, a free online tool that scientists can use to test their hypotheses before carrying out real-world trials.

As of 2021, AlphaFold’s predictions are freely available to non-commercial researchers, as part of a database containing more than 200 million protein structures, and have been cited thousands of times in other work.

DeepMind said the new server requires less computer knowledge, allowing researchers to run tests with just a few clicks.

John Jumper, principal investigator at DeepMind, said: “It will be very important to see how much the AlphaFold server makes it easier for biologists – who are experts in biology, not computer science – to test larger, more complex cases.” .

Nicole Wheeler, a microbiology expert at the University of Birmingham, said AlphaFold 3 could significantly speed up the drug discovery process, as “the physical production and testing of biological models is currently a significant bottleneck in biotechnology”. (Reporting by Martin Coulter; Writing by Sharon Singleton)

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