Jan. 8, 2020
Bayer and Atomwise, the leader in artificial intelligence (AI) for drug discovery, today announced the companies will continue the development of two crop protection programs. Farmers across the world are facing an increase in weed, insect and fungal resistance to current products on the market, and new mechanisms of action are needed to bolster integrated pest management systems. Based on previous and future successes, Bayer will advance the resulting compounds to field trials and further development.
“Crop protection research is enhanced by data science, which can transform established methods into an integrated system focused on accelerated hypothesis-driven discovery,” said Axel Trautwein, Head of Small Molecules, Crop Science Division of Bayer. “We’re encouraged by what we have seen in the early stages of discovery and look forward to what this extended collaboration will bring.”
“The development of chemical compounds for agriculture is as challenging as it is for drug development,” said Dr. Abraham Heifets, CEO of Atomwise. “Most of the exciting targets have stymied previous development efforts. We've been able to deliver because of our unique technological breakthroughs, which let us screen billions of new chemical scaffolds against proteins that lack structural information or already-known drug series. We have shown repeatedly that our technology is effective using homology models and predicting binding to proteins across species, which is critical to selectivity and broad-spectrum activity. Bayer has been a great partner and we are excited that the compounds we helped to discover are moving forward,” he added.
Under the terms of the agreement, Atomwise will receive upfront payments for the research activities, as well as developmental milestone and royalty payments when products are commercialized.