Atomwise announced the launch of a 10 billion compound AI-powered virtual drug screening initiative for pediatric oncology, in collaboration with Enamine Ltd., the world’s largest chemical supplier. The goal of this initiative – called the 10-to-the-10 program – is to dramatically increase the discovery of safer small molecules to treat pediatric cancers. When completed, it will stand as the largest ever virtual drug screen.
10-to-the-10 Program Overview
Cancer is diagnosed in more than 15,000 children and adolescents each year, and an estimated 80% of existing treatments have serious adverse effects that affect long-term health. The 10-to-the-10 program will search for novel drug candidates to treat pediatric cancer by looking at billions of compounds that have never been examined in any drug discovery program, dramatically increasing the likelihood of developing new drugs for existing targets – ideally with less adverse effects.
The enormous screen in the 10-to-the-10 program is possible because of a confluence of technologies: accurate and rapid structure-based drug development with Atomwise’s AI algorithms, scalable cloud computing innovations, and large virtual libraries like Enamine’s REAL (readily accessible) database of compounds that can be synthesized quickly.
“Many of our partners have successfully identified early drug candidates, including submicromolar hits, by screening only 10 million compounds with our AI virtual screening platform,” says Abraham Heifets, CEO and Co-Founder of Atomwise. “We’ve barely scratched the surface of what is possible – imagine what will be found when we screen a chemical library that is a thousand times larger.”
With Atomwise, partners have reported early preclinical success rates more than twice the industry standard. Additionally, average hit rates with Atomwise’s AI technology are reported to be a hundred times greater than with traditional screening technologies for comparably difficult targets.2 Screening hundreds of millions of molecules has already been shown to deliver drugs a thousand times more potent than those found using standard sized libraries3 – an improvement that could take years to deliver using traditional methods.
Ten billion compounds will provide researchers with many more starting points for drug discovery. Researchers no longer need to sift through the same sets of compounds that have been repeatedly screened in cancer research. With the 10-to-the-10 program, researchers will be able to efficiently test a large and diverse set of compounds, which enables the early identification of solutions to potential roadblocks in drug development. The initiative aims to not only increase the rate of success, but also, to raise the bar for success and advancement at each step of drug development and to shorten the time needed for preclinical drug discovery.