A medication developed and created using artificial intelligence (AI) for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a chronic condition that causes lung scarring, has entered human clinical trials for the first time.
Insilico Medicine, a Hong Kong-based biotechnology business, stated in a statement that the Phase II study on oral dose of INS018_055 is now being undertaken in China for more than 12 weeks and will later be expanded to test 60 people in the US and China.
Once successful, the company aims to study a larger cohort.
“With demonstrated potential against both fibrosis and inflammation, INS018_055 could offer another option for patients worldwide,” said Feng Ren, co-CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Insilico Medicine, in the statement.
“Initiating Phase II trials with this novel inhibitor for IPF represents a major milestone for deep generative reinforcement learning in drug discovery. We will explore the efficacy for patients of AI-discovered and designed treatments in clinical trials, which is a true validation of our generative AI platform,” added Alex Zhavoronkov, Founder and co-CEO of Insilico Medicine.
Zhavoronkov said the discovery process for the new drug began in 2020, with hopes to create a “moonshot” medicine to overcome challenges with current treatments for the condition, which mostly focus on slowing progression and can cause uncomfortable side effects, CNBC reported.
He also mentioned that the business has two more medications in the trial stage that were largely created by AI.
The first is a Covid-19 medication now in phase one clinical testing, and the second is a cancer medicine, particularly a “USP1 inhibitor for the treatment of solid tumours,” which just gained FDA clearance to begin clinical trials.
Zhavoronkov stated that he anticipates receiving data from the current Phase II study next year.
IPF damages the tissue around the lungs’ air sacs, called alveoli. It occurs when the lung tissue thickens and stiffens for unclear causes. These alterations can lead to chronic scarring in the lungs, known as fibrosis, which makes breathing increasingly difficult.
The illness deteriorates with age and, if addressed, can result in death within two to five years.