AstraZeneca, AI biologics firm Absci tie up on cancer drug

Βy Shivani Tanna

(Reuters) – Anglo-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca has signed a deal worth up to $247 million with U.S. artificial intelligence (AI) biologics firm Absci to design an antibody to fight cancer, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

The collaboration aims to harness Absci’s AI technology for large-scale protein analysis to find a viable oncology therapy, a leading focus of AstraZeneca, the report said. It did not say what kind of cancer they plan to target.

Absci and AstraZeneca did not immediately respond to a Reuters requests for comment.

The deal includes an upfront fee for Absci, research and development funding and milestone payments, as well as royalties on any product sales, the newspaper said.

AstraZeneca, AI biologics firm Absci tie up on cancer drug
FILE PHOTO: The AstraZeneca logo is pictured outside the AstraZeneca office building in Brussels as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign, Belgium, January 28, 2021. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/File Photo

Sean McClain, Absci’s founder and chief executive, was quoted as saying the application of engineering principles to drug discovery improved the potential of success and reduced time spent in development.

Absci applies generative artificial intelligence to design optimal drug candidates based on target affinity, safety, manufacturability and other traits.