Sector News

UCB taps Microsoft to accelerate drug discovery, clinical trials

February 28, 2021
Life sciences

UCB and Microsoft have entered into a multiyear strategic collaboration. The deal will see Microsoft use its capabilities in computational services, cloud computing and artificial intelligence to support drug discovery and development at UCB.

In disclosing the alliance, UCB highlighted the value Microsoft can bring to drug discovery activities that “require the analysis of high-dimensional data sets or multi-modal unstructured information.” UCB sees potential for computing and AI to “significantly accelerate the iteration cycles required to explore a vast chemical space to test many hypotheses and identify more effective molecules.”

Belgium’s UCB is also looking to identify other areas of its operation that could benefit from AI and additional computing power. UCB is yet to name areas it is exploring, saying only that the work will span “every part of the drug discovery and delivery value chain” and is intended to accelerate the development of life-changing treatments in immunology and neurology.

UCB CEO Jean-Christophe Tellier provided additional color in a statement. “By amplifying the power of scientific innovation through digital transformation, we hope to have a better understanding of what makes a patient’s journey unique so that we can provide personalized and differentiated medicine in a sustainable way,” Tellier said.

The partners have set four strategic objectives for the alliance. As well as improving the overall patient journey, UCB and Microsoft want to better understand the causes of disease, speed discovery using data-driven insights and accelerate clinical development timelines. The collaboration expands on an existing relationship between UCB and Microsoft that is focused on COVID-19.

News of the expanded UCB-Microsoft collaboration comes weeks after Boehringer Ingelheim teamed up with Google to access quantum computing capabilities. The Boehringer-Google alliance is focused on the application of quantum computing to molecular dynamics simulations.

by Nick Paul Taylor

Source: fiercebiotech.com

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