Israel-based AION Labs, an AI-enabled drug discovery partnership between global pharma and tech companies, announced the launch of a new startup, TenAces.
TenAces will utilize AI, integrating biology and machine learning algorithms, to discover molecular glue therapies to enhance targeted protein degradation.
Molecular glues are protein-binding small molecules that change two protein interactions, causing them to come together when they normally would not. The glues can potentially be used to treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Protein degradation is part of one’s protein homeostasis or how one’s cells break down old or broken proteins for reuse in the body.
TenAces, a product of AION Labs’ fifth startup challenge, will use machine learning to find naturally occurring protein interactions that can lead to targeted protein degradation in the hopes of discovering and creating new molecule glue therapies.
The company will integrate biology into developing its machine learning algorithms, creating multiple feedback loops with wet lab, or experimental lab, validations that will, in turn, guide the algorithms development and improve prediction capabilities.
“We are developing a novel solution for targeted protein degradation by enabling the identification of optimal E3 degraders and designing molecular glues for removal of disease-causing proteins. With some 85% of target proteins currently undruggable, we can potentially address a wide range of diseases,” Dr. Arnout Schepers, founder and CEO of TenAces, said in a statement.
“AION Labs has proven invaluable in facilitating the establishment of TenAces. The support of our pharma partners has been integral in shaping the company, providing the essential resources and guidance necessary to develop and eventually commercialize solutions that can facilitate more effective treatment.”
THE LARGER TREND
AION Labs was built under a government tender with the support of the Israeli government via the Israel Innovation Authority. The company includes pharma giants AstraZeneca, Merck, Pfizer, and Teva, alongside venture capital firm Israel Biotech Fund, strategic partner Amazon Web Services, and German independent research institute Bio Med X.
Earlier this month, AION announced a strategic partnership with Israeli early-stage venture capital firm Amiti Ventures. The collaboration would help improve AION’s proficiency in biotech innovation by expanding its expertise in computational technology domains and deep technology.
AION announced its first startup in 2022, OMEC.AI, which aims to build an AI-enabled computational platform to help researchers assess the clinical trial readiness of a drug candidate, suggest experiments to close any identified gaps and identify hidden safety liabilities.
Last year, the company launched DenovAI, a startup creating an AI-powered platform to discover potential antibodies from scratch and then suggest which ones can be used as effective drugs.
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