Big pharma enters senolytic drug discovery programme

Japanese pharma Taisho teams with Insilico to discover novel molecules that will tackle aging.

It was announced today that Taisho Pharmaceutical and Insilico Medicine have entered into a research collaboration to identify novel therapeutics against aging.

Longevity.Technology: We have reported on several Insilico news stories this year and CEO Alex Zhavoronkov has teased “several major announcements during Q4 this year.” Today’s announcement is doubly-exciting, as it spotlights an AI company partnering with a pharmaceutical company for both target discovery and small molecule generation and the targets are senolytics-focused.

Insilico Medicine will use both the target discovery and generative chemistry parts of its Pharma.AI platform in this collaboration. It will use its proprietary Pandomics Discovery Platform to identify novel targets for senolytic drugs and Chemistry42 platform for a molecular generation.

With the aim of extending the human healthspan, this collaboration brings together Insilico’s advanced AI technologies in drug discovery with Taisho’s drug development experience. Taisho has already dipped its toe in the Longevity pool; the HIF-PH inhibitor recently licensed by BioAge was also developed by them.

“We’re delighted to collaborate with Taisho pharmaceutical, a well-recognized leader in the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare sector,” said Jimmy Yen-Chu Lin, PhD, CEO of Insilico Medicine Taiwan, a fully-owned subsidiary of Insilico Medicine.

“It is believed that aging is a universal phenomenon that we cannot stop,” he added. “However, emerging scientific evidence has shown that one may be able to reverse some of the age-associated processes. Through this collaboration, we will adopt our AI-powered drug discovery suites together with Taisho’s validation platform to explore the new space of anti-aging solutions.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Insilico Medicine will receive an upfront payment and milestone payments upon achievement of specified goals. Insilico Medicine will be responsible for early research phase target identification and molecular generation and Taisho will work collaboratively with Insilico in validating the results in various in vitro and in vivo assays.

In addition, Taisho has the exclusive option to acquire Insilico’s co-ownership of the successfully developed programmes under agreed payment.

“It is our great honour to be collaborating with the scientists of Taisho Pharmaceutical, one of the top 100 pharmaceutical companies in the world operating since 1912,” said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine.

“The high level of the scientists we are interfacing, and our previous successes in the application of the Pharma.AI platform for discovery of novel targets and molecules in fibrosis, and previous experience in senolytic drug discovery give us confidence that this collaboration will be successful,” Zhavoronkov added.