Can AI and Automation Deliver a COVID-19 Antiviral While It Still Matters?

Illustration: Marysia Machulska Within moments of meeting each other at a conference last year, Nathan Collins and Yann Gaston-Mathé began devising a plan to work together. Gaston-Mathé runs a startup that applies automated software to the design of new drug candidates. Collins leads a team that uses an automated chemistry platform to synthesize new drug candidates. “There was an obvious synergy between their technology and ours,” recalls Gaston-Mathé, CEO and cofounder of Paris-based Iktos. In late 2019, the pair launched a project to create a brand-new antiviral drug that would block a specific protein exploited by influenza viruses. Then the COVID-19 pandemic erupted across the world stage, and Gaston-Mathé and Collins learned that the viral culprit, SARS-CoV-2, relied on a protein that was 97 percent similar to their influenza protein. The partners pivoted. Their companies are just two of hundreds of biotech firms eager to overhaul the drug-discovery process, often Continue reading Can AI and Automation Deliver a COVID-19 Antiviral While It Still Matters?