CCMB, Aganitha to apply Generative AI for therapeutic design, research

Hyderabad, May 29 (IANS): The Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB) and Aganitha, a new generation 'in silico' solutions provider, signed a framework agreement to apply Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions for designing novel therapeutics and research tools addressing needs in multiple disease areas.

CCMB, a part of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), and Aganitha, which combines the power of deep science and deep tech to bring novel medicines to market faster, signed an umbrella memorandum of understanding (MoU) to apply Aganitha’s Generative AI solutions for small molecule and antibody design for translation of CCMB’s R&D findings into therapeutic candidates.

Initial areas of collaboration include target analysis, small molecule design, and antibody and nanobody engineering for addressing malaria, tuberculosis (TB), and neurological disorders.

This strategic collaboration is designed to translate discoveries from the globally acclaimed research labs of CCMB into therapeutic candidates through the application of Aganitha’s Generative AI solutions for biopharma R&D, said a joint statement on Wednesday.

"We continue to struggle with controlling malaria due to drug resistance of the pathogen, lack of broadly available vaccines, and insecticide resistance of mosquitoes. Collaborative efforts of interdisciplinary experts are necessary to develop new drugs and vaccines for malaria. Towards this goal, we are leveraging Aganitha’s Generative AI capabilities in small molecules space for validated parasite drug targets to predict, test, and optimize potential antimalarial compounds," said Dr Puran Singh Sijwali, Senior Principal Scientist at CCMB.

Dr Raghunand Tirumalai, also a Senior Principal Scientist at the CCMB, said that they would work towards the structure-based discovery of small molecule inhibitors targeting essential proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, adding that he expects this will lead to the identification of multiple novel anti-TB therapeutic leads.

"The collaboration between CSIR-CCMB and Aganitha to develop nanobody binders targeting a class of neurotransmitter receptors, called the GluD1 receptors, marks a significant stride in neuroscience and pharmacology. These nanobodies might serve as precise molecular tools to modulate GluD1 receptor activity, potentially unlocking novel therapeutic avenues for neurological disorders like Alzheimer's and epilepsy. With their small size and high specificity, nanobodies hold promise for targeted drug delivery and imaging applications, paving the way for tailored treatments with reduced side effects" said Dr Janesh Kumar, Senior Principal Scientist at CCMB.

"The collaboration with Aganitha is forward-looking, utilising CCMB’s strength in fundamental research on disease biology and Aganitha’s expertise in AI-driven solutions. It is timely for us to forge such a collaboration to take our lab leads towards more real-life solutions," CCMB Director Dr Vinay Nandicoori said.

Prasad Chodavarapu, co-founder and MD of Aganitha, sees the relationship between CCMB and Aganitha as a great example of the academia-industry collaboration needed to make a significant impact towards solving human diseases and suffering.

"We are a multi-disciplinary team of researchers specialising in multi-scale systems biology, quantum chemistry, and Generative AI, taking the here-and-now opportunity to leverage the virtual loop of innovation happening between Deep Science and Deep Tech, to transform global life sciences R&D," he said.



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Title: CCMB, Aganitha to apply Generative AI for therapeutic design, research

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