DNDi and BenevolentAI collaborate to accelerate life-saving drug discovery research in dengue
Benevolent’s AI-enhanced approach will be deployed in a non-commercial collaboration with DNDi, to deliver a list of potential biological targets (proteins that can be targeted by a potential drug) and drug repurposing candidates that could be effective to prevent progression to severe dengue.
The most promising drug candidates identified in the joint research project will later be tested in clinical trials in collaboration with dengue-endemic country partners.
“There is no effective treatment for dengue and millions of patients across the globe urgently need safe, effective, affordable and accessible treatment options. Being able to apply cutting edge AI technology in this partnership with BenevolentAI to help neglected patients opens an exciting new opportunity to rapidly identify promising drug candidates and later test them in clinical trials,” said Dr. Charles Mowbray, Discovery Director at DNDi.”
“With dengue spreading at a rapid pace, and climate change predicted to further intensify the impact and spread of the disease, it is all the more critical to accelerate research into new treatment options,” Anne Phelan, Chief Scientific Officer at BenevolentAI, commented. “The global scientific response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and BenevolentAI’s COVID-19 research, provided a clear example of how AI can help us respond to pressing global health challenges. BenevolentAI’s vast integrated knowledge graph coupled with our AI tools enable us to build a comprehensive representation of disease biology and accelerate the discovery of new treatments. Our partnership with the DNDi builds on this approach, with a goal to address urgent patient needs and help relieve pressure on overburdened health systems.”
Dengue represents one of the top ten threats to global public health worldwide. Despite an estimated 390 million infections each year in over 100 countries, no specific treatment remains available. The World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted that insect-borne pathogens, such as dengue, could lead to the next pandemic.
A not-for-profit research and development organisation, DNDi works to deliver new treatments for neglected patients, those living with Chagas disease, sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), leishmaniasis, filarial infections, mycetoma, paediatric HIV, and hepatitis C. DNDi is also coordinating a clinical trial to find treatments for mild-to-moderate COVID-19 cases in Africa. Since its inception in 2003, DNDi has delivered nine new treatments to date, including new drug combinations for kala-azar, two fixed-dose antimalarials, and DNDi’s first successfully developed new chemical entity, fexinidazole, approved in 2018 for the treatment of both stages of sleeping sickness. For more information, visit their website.
Rajin Kang - VP Communications
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