An Oxford-based firm that uses artificial intelligence to develop new medicines has teamed up with a UK national science facility to screen more than 15,000 drugs for their effectiveness as a treatment for Covid-19.
Exscientia, a spinoff company from the University of Dundee that is now based in Oxford science park, said it had gained access to a large collection of existing drugs held by the Scripps research institute in California and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It will screen them in partnership with Diamond Light Source near Oxford, which works like a giant microscope and generates bright light that allows scientists to study viruses.
Exscientia hopes to discover a drug that can be repurposed to treat coronavirus within the next six to 12 months, whereupon it would be tested on Covid-19 patients, Prof Andrew Hopkins, the firm’s chief executive, told the Guardian. Any potential treatment could be made available for compassionate use before clinical trials are completed, but this would depend on how much can be manufactured quickly.
The drug collection, which comprises more than 15,000 compounds that have been approved and tested for human safety in clinical trials or pre-clinical studies, has been shipped from California to Oxford.
Prof David Stuart, director of life sciences at Diamond and professor of structural biology at Oxford University, said: “The drugs we are testing have either been approved by the [US regulator] FDA for other diseases or have been extensively tested for human safety. By being able to repurpose existing molecules, we can save a lot of time in the drug discovery process, meaning a faster route to clinical trials, and potentially a treatment for patients.”
Exscientia is using its biosensor technology to screen the drug molecules for effectiveness against Sars-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19.
Image Credit: Geoff Caddick/AFP via Getty Images
News This Week
ANSTO has contributed to a comprehensive investigation of a promising type of nanoparticle that could potentially be used for intractable brain cancers in a combined therapy. The study, which was led by Dr. Moeava [...]
The immune response needed to protect people against reinfection with the coronavirus will be explored in a new human challenge trial, researchers have revealed. Human challenge trials involve deliberately exposing healthy people to a [...]
Researchers from Duke University are developing a flu shot with the new technology that was used for two coronavirus vaccines. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna shots use part of the virus's genetic code [...]
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have shown the potential of repurposing an existing and cheap drug into a long-acting injectable therapy that could be used to treat Covid-19. In a paper published in the journal Nanoscale, [...]
Researchers have developed a new superbug-destroying coating that could be used on wound dressings and implants to prevent and treat potentially deadly bacterial and fungal infections. The material is one of the thinnest antimicrobial [...]
The U.S. is recommending a "pause" in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control [...]
The South African coronavirus variant is better at "breaking through" the defences of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine than other forms of the virus, Israeli experts said Sunday. However, one of the authors told AFP that [...]
EPFL scientists have developed AI-powered nanosensors that let researchers track various kinds of biological molecules without disturbing them. The tiny world of biomolecules is rich in fascinating interactions between a plethora of different agents [...]
A team of researchers from the Institute for Infectious Diseases (IFIK) at the University of Bern and the Federal Institute of Virology and Immunology (IVI) have assessed virus growth and activation of the cellular [...]
Researchers at Brown University have succeeded in creating the first wireless, implantable, rechargeable, long-term brain-computer interface. The wireless BCIs have been implanted in pigs and monkeys for over 13 months without issue, and human [...]
The coronavirus outbreak made household names of companies like Moderna Inc. and BioNTech SE, whose shots offered hope for ending the pandemic. Now a new wave of vaccines is on the horizon that may get the [...]
Researchers at the University of Southampton have developed a new way of using nanomaterials to identify and enrich skeletal stem cells—a discovery which could eventually lead to new treatments for major bone fractures and [...]
In March 2020, Hannu Rajaniemi pivoted his biotech company Helix Nanotechnologies' focus from cancer therapies to Covid-19 vaccines. The role biotech start-ups can play in a pandemic Rajaniemi originally co-founded Helix Nanotechnologies in Cambridge, Massachusetts in [...]
The rapid mass testing strategy costing just £1 a day per child can get children back to school and economies up and running, according to experts. That is the small price of the [...]
Covid-19 vaccines are incredibly good at preventing severe symptoms and hospitalization, but they’re probably less effective at stopping transmission. To do that, we might need a different kind of vaccine altogether. Because SARS-CoV-2 is [...]
For many scientists, challenging the idea that SARS-CoV-2 has natural origins is seen as career suicide. But a vocal few say it shouldn't be disregarded or lumped in with conspiracy theories. Nikolai Petrovsky was scrolling [...]