An AI-developed drug has entered human trials for the first time ever

(Escientia)

For the first time in history, an AI-developed drug molecule has entered human trials.

According to the European Pharmaceutical Review, the molecule, called DSP-1181, has entered Phase I trials, which often involve in-clinic patient testing.

DSP-1181 was designed to treat obsessive compulsive disorder by an AI developed by Exscientia, a British start up, and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, a Japanese pharmaceutical firm.

DSP-1181 affects serotonin 5-HT1A receptor. 5-HT receptors are often targeted by pharmaceutical drugs.

"We believe that this entry of DSP-1181, created using AI, into clinical studies is a key milestone in drug discovery," Exscientia CEO Andrew Hopkins said in a statement.

It takes 5 years on average to create a new drug, but the AI created the drug in 12 months, according to Hopkins.

"I think AI has huge potential to enhance and accelerate drug discovery," Paul Workman, chief executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, told the BBC. Workman was not involved in the project.

"There are billions of decisions needed to find the right molecules and it is a huge decision to precisely engineer a drug," Hopkins said. "But the beauty of the algorithm is that they are agnostic, so can be applied to any disease."

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