Intellegens and CPI awarded £1.6m Innovate UK grant

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Innovate UK Research and development Oligonucleotides Drug development

Intellegens, a company applying machine learning (ML) to accelerate innovation in R&D, has secured a £1.6m grant from Innovate UK, to apply ML in the emerging field of oligonucleotide therapies.

In collaboration with the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), the two-year project will enhance the company’s ML technology, Alchemite, as a tool to enhance productivity and yields of oligonucleotide therapeutic manufacture.

According to the company, this will be achieved through performance prediction and optimisation of quality control strategies.

Expert support for the project is also being provided with direct input from six research organisations, including top 10 pharma companies, such as Novartis and specialist biotech companies, including Silence Therapeutics.  

Offering high specificity with the ability to treat a broad range of diseases, oligonucleotides represent a promising therapeutic option in pharmaceutical research.

However, their full potential is yet to be realised, as manufacturing knowledge and experience are limited outside a small number of specialist companies.

Therapeutic oligonucleotides are large, complex molecules, requiring a multi-stage synthetic process alongside significant purification and analysis steps. The workflow presents many challenges, constraining manufacturing productivity.

Intellegens’ Alchemite is a set of advanced ML artificial intelligence algorithms and tools that supports the design and development of chemicals, materials, formulations, and processes. The collaboration will validate Alchemite as a tool to improve productivity in oligonucleotide process development and manufacturing workflows.

Ben Pellegrini, CEO at Intellegens, said: “The potential of oligonucleotide therapeutics to treat a vast spectrum of diseases is an exciting prospect that is unfortunately held back by manufacturing capabilities. We are extremely pleased to announce this Innovate UK funded collaborative project with CPI and experts from across the life sciences to apply Alchemite to improve manufacturing productivity of these next-generation therapeutics.”

Dave Tudor, managing director of pharmaceuticals at CPI, added: “We are really excited to be working with Intellegens on this project to help harness the potential of oligonucleotides to treat a variety of conditions. Oligonucleotides are complex molecules and the process of bringing them to market is costly, meaning very few companies are able to harness this potentially life-saving and life-changing technology."

"Through CPI’s Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, we will look to bring together a community of experts from the pharmaceutical and technology companies to support the development of the Alchemite tools, reducing development times and improving manufacturability of oligonucleotide therapeutics.”

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