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Iktos and Sygnature Discovery announce a multi-year collaboration deal in AI for drug design

PARIS & NOTTINGHAM, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence (AI) for new drug design and Sygnature Discovery, a leading integrated drug discovery CRO headquartered in Nottingham, UK, with expertise across a range of therapeutic and biological target classes today announced a collaboration agreement in AI for new drug design.

Under the 3-year agreement, Sygnature will deploy Iktos’ de novo generative design software Makya™, which will be used by Sygnature scientists to facilitate rapid and efficient design of novel compounds and accelerate hit-to-lead/lead optimisation, reinforcing Sygnature Discovery’s drug design expertise delivering its integrated drug discovery solutions to its world-wide customer base.

In the recent years, Iktos has emerged as one of the world leaders in AI for drug design, establishing multiple collaborations with renowned pharmaceutical companies and successfully developing the AI software platforms Makya™ for new drug design and Spaya™ for synthesis planning.

Makya™, a generative AI-driven de novo design software for Multi-Parametric Optimization (MPO), is available either as a SaaS platform or for implementation on customer premises or in the customer’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Makya’s user-friendly interface enables it to be used by medicinal or computational chemists, and Makya can also be operated as a Python package through a Jupyter notebook interface. Makya is based on Iktos’ generative AI technology, which helps bring speed and efficiency to the drug discovery process by automatically designing virtual novel molecules that have desired activities for treating a given disease. It is a novel solution, validated through many collaborations, to one of the key challenges in drug design: the rapid identification of molecules that simultaneously satisfy multiple parameters, such as potency, selectivity, safety, and project-specific properties.

Sygnature Discovery serves its growing customer base with fully integrated drug discovery services from target validation through to preclinical candidate selection. The company has a relentless focus on quality and continually looks to improve on its ability to deliver novel therapeutics to the clinic.

Colin Sambrook-Smith, Director of Computational Sciences at Sygnature Discovery commented:

“Late stage lead optimisation projects routinely generate substantial data sets which are ideally placed for exploitation by AI and Machine Learning technologies. Our experience with the Iktos Makya AI/ML technology demonstrates that it generates high quality compound ideas, the QSAR models can be rapidly updated, and the interface allows us to distribute the software broadly and quickly. We believe that Makya will allow us to blend our proven medicinal and computational chemistry expertise with the benefit of AI/ML technologies to impact compound design. This is why we have selected Makya to enhance how we help our customers with their lead optimisation projects, with a view to reducing the number of compounds required to identify pre-clinical candidates and so keep overall costs and timelines down.”

"We are very pleased to collaborate with Sygnature Discovery, they truly are a leading integrated drug discovery CRO and with a great track record. We are excited and proud to announce our first multi-year collaboration deal in the dynamic CRO sector and to have Sygnature’s scientists use our software to speed up their customers’ discovery programs," said Yann Gaston-Mathé, Co-founder and CEO of Iktos. "We are more than ever committed to make our technology available to biopharma companies around the world and maximize the impact of AI on the productivity of drug discovery."

About Iktos
Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a start-up company specializing in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, the design of molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis.

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About Sygnature
Sygnature Discovery is a leading independent integrated drug discovery and non-clinical services company. Private equity-backed since 2017, the company operates fully enabled research facilities in Nottingham and Alderley Park, UK, housing more than 500 staff (over 80% of scientists hold a PhD), and has an office presence in Cambridge, MA, and South San Francisco, CA, in the US.

Their experienced drug-hunters possess all the professional skills and know-how required to undertake the most demanding of research programs, and drive them from target validation through hit identification, hit-to-lead and lead optimisation to pre-clinical development candidate. Sygnature’s in vivo pharmacology arm was established by the incorporation of RenaSci, acquired in 2018, into Sygnature’s fully integrated drug discovery platform. In 2020 Sygnature added to this with the acquisitions of in vivo oncology firm Alderley Oncology and DMPK provider XenoGesis.

Since 2011, 37 compounds discovered by Sygnature for customers have entered formal regulatory development and, so far, 20 of these have progressed to clinical trials (Phases I, II and III). In 2017, Sygnature Discovery received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade, and in the last year has won both the Medilink Outstanding Achievement Award and the Bionow Company of the Year Award.

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Yann Gaston-Mathé (CEO)
+33 6 30 07 99 26

Anders Lindstrom
Director of Marketing
Sygnature Discovery
Phone: +44 (0)115 941 5401

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Last Updated: 11-May-2022