Joint AI lab formed for oncology, COVID-19 drug discovery

Image courtesy of Pietro Jeng

PostEra, a biotechnology company focused on machine learning for preclinical drug discovery, is teaming up with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to establish an artificial intelligence (AI) lab. This collaboration will have PostEra and Pfizer advancing multiple drug discovery programs with an initial focus in oncology and COVID-19 antiviral therapeutics.

The AI lab will utilise machine learning for medicinal chemistry built on Pfizer’s data, and PostEra’s efforts in generative chemistry and synthesis-aware design.

PostEra will receive an upfront payment of 13 million USD and is eligible to receive additional milestone payments totalling up to 248 million USD should all milestones be achieved, in addition to tiered royalties on any approved products arising out of the collaboration.

The AI lab will integrate drug discovery with technology development to ensure a continuous feedback loop that refines both the process and predictions from the platform. Its goal is to combine Pfizer’s know-how and data with PostEra’s technology to advance these drug discovery programs, while also producing a platform which will be deployed across Pfizer’s in-house, preclinical drug discovery efforts.

This AI lab is an expansion of the companies’ existing partnership to develop a platform technology based on generative chemistry.

“We think the best way to build leading technology is to have its development tightly integrated with live drug discovery programs”, said Dr. Alpha Lee, Chief Scientific Officer of PostEra.

PostEra also announced its 24 million USD Series A financing, which will help expand its partnered drug discovery programs, initiate internal drug discovery programs, as well as further develop its AI-first medicinal chemistry platform.