- Google‘s parent company Alphabet launched a new company in the United Kingdom called Isomorphic Labs
- This company will follow in the footsteps of another Google-owned company called DeepMind and use AI to discover new drugs.
- With this new company, Google has become the forerunner to incorporate AI technologies to revolutionize various fields including the healthcare sector.
Alphabet, which is the parent company of Google, has launched a new drug discovery company named Isomorphic Labs in the United Kingdom. According to sources, this company was launched by the technological giant with the aim of using Artificial Intelligence(AI) to discover new drugs and cures for a spectrum of rare and common diseases.
The history of Google’s interest in Artificial Intelligence integrated biological algorithms
DeepMind is a London-based Artificial Intelligence-powered lab. It was founded in September 2010 but was acquired by Google in 2014. The company also has research centers in Canada, France, and the United States. In 2015, it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet Incorporated.
The firm mainly focuses on developing general-purpose learning algorithms. These algorithms are developed by a complex integration of Artificial Intelligence and knowledge of biological systems to create a neural network. DeepMind has been in the news for having created a neural network that learns how to play video games like that of humans. Also, the company is credited with developing a Neural Turing machine. This machine will enable one to access external memory. Hence it will act as a computer that mimics the short-term memory of the human brain.
Google’s latest venture, Isomorphic Labs is expected to lay its foundation on the research done by DeepMind. While the firm was only officially announced on Thursday, it was incorporated in February, according to a filing with Companies House, the U.K. company registry.
Demis Hassabis, the CEO and co-founder of DeepMind, is also the co-founder and CEO of Isomorphic Labs and will continue to reprise his previous position held at DeepMind along with this new role at Isomorphic.
The dawn of AI in pharmaceuticals
Hassabis described Isomorphic Labs as a commercial venture which aimed to reimagine and change the entire procedure of a lengthy drug discovery process in the pharmaceutical industry. The company will intend to make progress and generate momentum in areas mankind hasn’t ventured before.
Isomorphic Labs have plans on using artificial intelligence software to create new drugs and medicines that will contribute to making groundbreaking discoveries in this field. With such advances, we are really looking at a future where Artificial Intelligence is incorporated at a deeper level in such extrinsic aspects of drug making and purposing for various diseases.
If this experiment of integrating AI and biology is successful then the pharmaceutical industries will be revolutionized and see a new dawn in the work that goes behind making a drug before it hits the stores of the chemist around us. Identifying new drugs is a long, complex trial-and-error process that involves combining lots of different compounds in different ways. This implies the over-reliance on hit and trial, which in any sector can be time-consuming and tedious. The use of AI and other associated software cancels out this disadvantage and also cuts down on the time and monetary investments that go behind making a drug.
Such advantages benefit any industry and hence, the pharmaceutical industry is no exception. Several experts believe that the foundational use of cutting-edge computational and AI methods will enable scientists to take their work to the next level, and hugely accelerate the rare disease treatment process.
A representative of Isomorphic Labs emphasized the fact that this venture is different and separate from DeepMind and that it has its own isolated and dedicated resources. But there was no specification about the number of employees or the manpower which they are aimed to have.
Other aims and projects in the future
Alphabet has several other companies working on different aspects of the health care sector. One such company among them is Verily Life Sciences. This is a company dedicated solely to the various software associated with healthcare. Calico too is a part of this long list of ventures by Google. This company has primary aims such as extending human life by age reversal technologies.
DeepMind has also worked on health care, and it used to have its own dedicated DeepMind Health division. Although this too was absorbed by Google back in 2018, it met with some relatable and urgent controversy and was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. DeepMind however has also pursued research in other areas of life science as well. Their most notable breakthrough is probably in the field of protein folding which changed some basic concepts of this phenomenon and caused quite a stir in the Molecular Biology world. With such a changing landscape that accommodates technologies such as artificial intelligence in almost every field of life, it will be interesting to note how the healthcare sector evolves with the alternating trends.