News | March 14, 2019

Iktos Announces Collaboration With Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, For Use Of Iktos AI Technology Across Three Drug Discovery Projects


Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence for new drug design, today announced a collaboration agreement with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, where Iktos generative modelling artificial intelligence (AI) technology will be used to facilitate the rapid and cost-effective discovery and design of promising new compounds for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

Iktos’ AI technology, based on deep generative models, helps bring speed and efficiency to the drug discovery process, by automatically designing virtual novel molecules that have desired activities for treating a given disease. This tackles one of the key challenges in drug design: rapid identification of molecules which simultaneously satisfy multiple bioactivity and drug-like criteria for clinical testing. The generative modelling technology is already successfully established in other fields, such as image processing and automatic translation, but has only recently been applied to chemistry.

“This agreement is another illustration of how we aim to enrich our discovery engine with strategic technology-focused collaborations,” said Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board and CEO Healthcare, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “Artificial intelligence is emerging as a pillar in the biopharmaceutical R&D model, giving us exponential opportunity to complement our existing expertise with further speed and better precision. For patients, this could mean faster access to novel treatment options.”

“We are thrilled that Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is collaborating with Iktos to further accelerate its drug discovery capabilities” commented Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and CEO of Iktos. “In a short space of time, our technology has successfully enabled huge progress and we are eager to apply the enormous possibilities it holds to help Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany with the successful design of new therapeutic options.”

Iktos has recently announced collaborations with several biopharmaceutical companies where Iktos AI technology is used to accelerate the design of promising compounds, and has published, at the EFMC 2018 meeting, an experimental validation of the technology in a real-life drug discovery project. Iktos is planning to release its SaaS software, Makya™, as a beta-test version available for testing by customers, by H1 2019.

About Iktos

Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a French start-up company specialized in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, to design molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™.

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