Combining an Unparalleled AI Platform with a Seasoned Pharma Team, Evince Biosciences Reimagines Drug Discovery and takes on Cancer Immunotherapy
By Paulo Rangel
President & CEO of Evince Biosciences, Inc.
Evince Biosciences is a next generation drug discovery company, using a compelling machine learning approach to reimagining drug discovery. Our first program targets toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) for cancer immunotherapy.
Simply stated, without a dramatic increase in R&D productivity, today’s pharmaceutical industry cannot sustain sufficient innovation to replace the loss of revenue due to patent expirations for successful products (Nature Reviews, March 2010). One highly promising way to close this gap, is the application of Artificial Intelligence. However, for all the buzz and promise, the application of artificial intelligence without accurate and complete information describing the molecules and targets to be evaluated will succumb to the axiom, “garbage in, garbage out.”
Our approach is called Autonomous Virtual Organism or “AVO.” The platform accurately predicts activity, toxicity and drug-like properties (ADME) simultaneously, transforming discovery into a parallel process in a virtual environment, rather than a sequential process in a laboratory environment. We have established a precise, calibrated series of in silico biological simulations that maximizes the informational content that is submitted for analysis by our machine learning approach. This approach to describe molecules is key to accurate predictions…and accuracy is essential for re-inventing drug discovery. Accelerating lead optimization is a key focus for our company. We start with the drug-like leads generated by AVO or our collaborator and apply medicinal chemistry principles to modify the molecules. AVO scores the new molecules to determine which changes were beneficial and which were not. In this way, we greatly enrich the pool of high-value molecules to be synthesized and evaluated in traditional biology. This smart in silico approach can dramatically decrease the number of medicinal chemistry cycles and reduce the cost and time required to successfully complete this stage.
We draw on Dr. James Appleman’s (Evince CSO) extensive experience in drug discovery, early clinical development and TLR7 for our first internal program – an orally administered TLR7 agonist for cancer immunotherapy. Stimulation of innate immunity is a current focus for immuno-oncology drug discovery, with STING (Stimulator of Interferon Genes) being one of the better known and accepted approaches. Our TLR7 agonist program compares favorably with STING as it stimulates innate immunity and the proliferation and activation of B-cells with an orally administered small molecule. Stimulation of the innate immune system is expected to increase the value of checkpoint inhibitors by augmenting the response rate, which is currently very low. We expect to identify a preclinical candidate in six months
We are optimistic about our future and the positive impact we can have on drug discovery and cancer immunotherapy. We are proud to be part of the San Diego biotechnology community and value collaborations with our colleagues in the pharma/biotech community worldwide.