PharmaWatch: Gilead Partners with New AI Rockstar Insitro to Develop NASH Treatments

Apr 16, 2019 | Artificial Intelligence, Leading Pharma, NASH, Partnership

Gilead Sciences Inc. issued a press release announcing they have structured a strategic collaboration with Insitro to discover and develop NASH therapies. A three year agreement, Gilead will access Insitro’s proprietary platform to simulate disease models for NASH and discovery targets that have an influence on clinical progression and regression of the disease. The insitro Human (ISH) platform applies machine learning, human genetics and functional genomics to generate and optimize unique in vitro models and  drive therapeutic discovery and development.

Gilead will seek to leverage the ISH platform to generate insights into disease progression, recommend targets and predict patient responses to potential therapeutic interventions. Apparently, Gilead has signed up for up to five targets in the agreement and must underwrite costs for chemistry and development again these targets.

Insitro was new to TrialSite News staff so we took a look at them.  Founded just in 2018, they purport to “revolutionize” pharmaceutical R&D by leveraging machine learning for drug discovery. By generating high-throughput, functional genomic data sets that align with patient data, and interpreting those data via novel machine learning methods, insitro builds predictive models that can accelerate target selection and the design of effective therapeutics. The company is building a high-throughput bio-data factory based on state-of-the-art technologies from bioengineering, allowing the creation of large data sets that enable cutting edge machine learning methods to be brought to bear on key bottlenecks in drug development. Again, launched in 2018, some powerful and influential financial forces are keen on their story. They have already raised a Series A round of over $100M funded by a16z, Arch Venture Partners, Foresite Capital, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Third Rock Ventures, as well as additional investments from Alexandria Venture Investments, Bezos Expeditions, Mubadala Investment Company, Two Sigma Ventures, Verily and other undisclosed investors. The company is located in South San Francisco, CA.

Daphne Koller, their founder, is an Israeli-American Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University. She was one of the co-founders of online education platform Coursera.  Her area of research focus is artificial intelligence and its applications in biomedical sciences. Insitro has from 25 to 35 employees.

TrialSite News will monitor publicly available information Insitro.