Google’s parent company Alphabet announced the launch of a new company this week dedicated to applying deep learning methods to drug discovery.

The new company is called Isomorphic Laboratories and will be led by Demis Hassabis, also the CEO of DeepMind, the AI-research company that utilized its deep learning model, AlphaFold2, to predict more than 350,000 protein structures about a year ago. DeepMind released this database and the model’s code to the public earlier this year.

DeepMind’s database and code are valuable tools that can be utilized by drug companies to accelerate drug development. The fact that these assets were open-sourced is quite remarkable and represents an exceedingly generous dedication to the public benefit.

As CEO of both companies, Hassabis remarked to STAT News that “You can think of [Isomorphic] as a sort of sister company to DeepMind… The idea is to really forge ahead with the potential for computational AI methods to reimagine the whole drug discovery process.”

Isomorphic Labs will reportedly confront the problem of drug discovery differently than existing companies in the AI-drug discovery space. “A lot of pharma companies did come to us to discuss AlphaFold and how they could use it, and through that we understood a lot more about what other things they would need,” Hassabis reportedly said.

Isomorphic aims to build predictive models to anticipate how drugs will perform and possibly design novel molecules, and leverage this platform as a service meeting the needs of drug developers, rather than developing its own pipeline of drug candidates.

“Biology is far too complex and messy to ever be encapsulated as a simple set of neat mathematical equations,” Hassabis said. “But just as mathematics turned out to be the right description language for physics, biology may turn out to be the perfect type of regime for the application of AI.”

Isomorphic will be based in London and hire in the range of 30 people in a startup phase.

STAT News has a great writeup on this launch, as does Fierce Biotech and The Verge.

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Dan Shores is Partner at Rothwell Figg.  Dan Shores is a dedicated patent lawyer and strategist who believes in his clients and the power of their ideas. He focuses on serving biotech, medical device, energy, software, cybersecurity, and other technology-based companies and understands

Dan Shores is Partner at Rothwell Figg.  Dan Shores is a dedicated patent lawyer and strategist who believes in his clients and the power of their ideas. He focuses on serving biotech, medical device, energy, software, cybersecurity, and other technology-based companies and understands the myriad of challenges that such companies face when breaking through and establishing themselves in their respective markets. Dan works with clients to build robust patent portfolios, protect trade secrets, negotiate strategic collaborations, conduct due diligence and landscape investigations, and prepare for success in funding rounds and exits. An engineer by education, and having extensive experience in transactional, litigation, procurement, and strategic counseling matters for technology-based companies, Dan is a problem-solver who excels at deciphering key translational aspects of a broad array of technologies to maximize leverage in the context of clients’ desired implementation of such technologies whether as participants in dynamic markets or as first movers.

Dan has served companies utilizing the following technologies (without limitation): mRNA therapies; lipid nanoparticle delivery technologies; genetically engineered swine and organs for xenotransplantation; artificial intelligence for drug discovery; CAR-T therapies; oligonucleotide development; pharmaceutical treatment of rhinitis with levocetirizine; pharmaceutical treatment of hepatitis B with telbivudine; genetically-modified cotton seed; fiber-optic probes for tissue investigation; implantable glucose-sensing devices; high throughput genetic seed-chipping technology; cybersecurity threat assessment platforms; interactive media systems for healthcare institutions; artificial intelligence (various applications); identification systems for cable-based medical devices; identification of digital positions of interest on media items; heat-treated glass with multilayer low-emissivity coatings; automotive and agricultural equipment; pressure-sensitive adhesives; three dimensional printing of buildings and other structures; and integrated electronic securities marketplace systems.

Dan is a registered patent attorney licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and in the District of Columbia. He is a member of the bars of the Supreme Court of the United States, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Dan lives in Boston with his wife Lindsay and their two English Bulldogs Jarves and Rosie.