BenevolentAI and Drugs for Neglected Disease initiative (DNDi) have commenced a joint AI research project to address dengue.
BenevolentAI is clinical-stage artificial intelligence (AI) enabled drug discovery company, while DNDi) is a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organisation with focus on neglected diseases.,
The company focuses on using its AI drug discovery platform, Benevolent Platform, to discover and develop novel treatment candidates.
It had developed bespoke drug repurposing workflows that allowed its team of researchers to identify a current treatment that could be repurposed to treat Covid-19.
Its research led to global clinical trials, which resulted in the drug receiving emergency use approval from the FDA.
The company’s AI-enhanced approach will be used in a non-commercial collaboration with DNDi, to provide a host of potential biological targets and drug repurposing candidates that could help in stopping progression to severe dengue.
This project will bring together Benevolent Platform with DNDi’s expertise and global network of partners in dengue.
Making use of data foundation developed from various and independent data sources, such as scientific literature, patents, the two entities will deploy AI tools to find out the underlying mechanisms involved in dengue, better frame hypotheses and quickly identify targets or treatments that could be repurposed.
Once the most promising drug candidates are identified in the joint research project, these will later be tested in clinical trials in partnership with dengue-endemic countries.
DNDi discovery director Dr. Charles Mowbray said: “There is no effective treatment for dengue and millions of patients across the globe urgently need safe, effective, affordable and accessible treatment options. Being able to apply cutting edge AI technology in this partnership with BenevolentAI to help neglected patients opens an exciting new opportunity to rapidly identify promising drug candidates and later test them in clinical trials.”
BenevolentAI chief scientific officer Anne Phelan said: “With dengue spreading at a rapid pace, and climate change predicted to further intensify the impact and spread of the disease, it is all the more critical to accelerate research into new treatment options.
“The global scientific response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and BenevolentAI’s COVID-19 research in particular, provided a clear example of how AI can help us respond to pressing global health challenges. BenevolentAI’s vast integrated knowledge graph coupled with our AI tools enable us to build a comprehensive representation of disease biology and accelerate the discovery of new treatments.
“Our partnership with the DNDi builds on this approach, with a goal to address urgent patient needs and help relieve pressure on overburdened health systems.”
Although every year there is an estimated 390 million infections reported in more than 100 countries, no specific treatment is available.