Brussels, Belgium, and Somerville, MA, March 15th, 2023: UCB, a global biopharmaceutical company, and Aitia, the leader in the application of Causal AI and “Digital Twins” to discover and develop new drugs, today announced an early drug discovery collaboration focused on the discovery and validation of novel drug targets and drug candidates for Huntington’s disease. The collaboration seeks to validate novel drug targets that are causally linked to clinical endpoints in Huntington’s disease.
Huntington’s disease is a debilitating genetic disorder that affects the brain, causing gradual degeneration of nerve cells in specific areas of the brain, which can lead to problems with movement, behavior, and cognitive abilities1,2. It is estimated that Huntington’s disease affects approximately 1 in 10,000 people worldwide and currently there is no cure for the disease and treatment options are limited1,3.
Colin Hill, CEO and co-founder of Aitia, commented, “At Aitia, our mission is to discover the next generation of breakthrough drugs to improve outcomes for patients where there is high unmet need. We believe that Huntington’s disease is overdue for major disruption and breakthroughs from our Gemini Digital Twins which are created from large quantities of multi-omic patient data and causal AI. We’re excited to collaborate closely with UCB to gain deeper insights into the underlying mechanisms of this complex disease and hope to drive major advancements in drug discovery and development faster than ever before.”
This strategic collaboration will combine the use of novel Huntington’s disease drug targets from Aitia’s Gemini Digital Twins with UCB’s expertise in drug research and preclinical model systems in neurodegeneration with the aim to accelerate the discovery of new therapies for people living with Huntington’s disease.
“We are pleased to work with Aitia in a bid to unravel the circuity of this debilitating disease” said Dhaval Patel, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at UCB. “We see this collaboration as an investment in next generation science and technology, allowing us to accelerate our understanding of human pathobiology and explore the potential of developing novel medicines through AI.”
Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.
- Huntington’s Disease Association ‘Our vision Our mission’. (n.d.). Available at: https://www.hda.org.uk/media/3014/impact-report-2019-final-3.pdf. Last accessed February 2023.
- neurocntr.com. (n.d.). Huntington Disease Overview, Incidence and Prevalence – NEUROCNTR. [online] Available at: http://www.neurocntr.com/huntingtons-disease.php. Last accessed February 2023.
- ucdavis.edu. (n.d.). About Huntington’s Disease – UC Davis Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence. [online] Available at: https://health.ucdavis.edu/huntingtons/about.html. Last accessed February 2023.
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (www.ucb.com) is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative medicines and solutions to transform the lives of people living with severe diseases of the immune system or of the central nervous system. With approximately 8 700 people in approximately 40 countries, the company generated revenue of € 5.5 billion in 2022. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB).
Aitia is the leader in the application of Causal AI and Digital Twins to discover the next generation of breakthrough drugs. By leveraging the convergence of multi-omic patient data, high-performance computing, and causal learning and AI, Aitia is revealing the hidden biological mechanisms of disease to create Digital Twins of disease in oncology, neurodegenerative disorders, and immunology. Gemini Digital Twins are being used today to discover novel therapies and accelerate R&D in multiple myeloma, prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Huntington’s Disease, with several more in development. Aitia’s partners include seven of the top ten pharmaceutical companies, leading academic research and medical centers, medical societies, leading multi-omic data companies, and patient advocacy groups globally.
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