UM partners with artificial intelligence leader Atomwise to pursue COVID-19 therapies

Two University of Manitoba researchers have received support from Atomwise, the leader in using artificial intelligence (AI) for small molecule drug discovery, to explore broad-spectrum therapies for COVID-19 and other coronaviruses.

Jorg Stetefeld

JORG STETEFELD: “IT IS CRUCIAL TO GAIN A MOLECULAR UNDERSTANDING OF HOW ONE PARTICULARLY ATTRACTIVE PROTEIN TARGET, NSP12, INTERACTS WITH ANOTHER KEY PROTEIN NAMED NSP8. ONCE LEARNED, THIS KNOWLEDGE CAN BE USED TO DEVELOP BOTH NEW DRUGS AND REPURPOSE EXISTING ONES.”

Faculty of Science professor Jörg Stetefeld (chemistry)Tier-1 Canada Research Chair in Structural Biology and Biophysics, and associate professor Mark Fry (biological sciences) received support through Atomwise’s Artificial Intelligence Molecular Screen (AIMS) awards program, which seeks to democratize access to AI for drug discovery and enable researchers to accelerate the translation of their research into novel therapies.

“The current pandemic of COVID-19 is caused by a novel virus strain of SARS-CoV-2,” says Stetefeld. “To develop the most efficient therapeutic strategies to counteract the SARS-CoV-2 infection, it is crucial to gain a molecular understanding of how one particularly attractive protein target, nsp12, interacts with another key protein named nsp8. Once learned, this knowledge can be used to develop both new drugs and repurpose existing ones.”

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May 22, 2020

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