Verge Genomics, a biotech company pioneering all-in-human, artificial-intelligence-powered drug discovery and development, has entered a collaboration with Eli Lilly to research and develop novel therapies for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
“Verge Genomics is advancing an innovative approach to identifying high-potential drug targets that are validated through artificial intelligence algorithms and a large library of human data,” said Michael Hutton, VP Neurodegeneration Research at Lilly.
“This approach complements and enhances Lilly’s neuroscience portfolio and will help facilitate development of what we hope will be transformative new therapies for people with ALS.”
Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Verge will receive up to $25 million in upfront, equity investment and potential near-term payments, with additional milestone value of $694 million and potential downstream royalties.
In this collaboration, Verge will apply its all-in-human platform to discover and validate new targets for ALS.
The all-in-human platform is based on a proprietary collection of patient brain transcriptomes across a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.
Through its application, the all-in-human platform provides insights into novel causal disease mechanisms in genetically segmented patient populations, and enables the discovery of therapeutic targets.
Based on these insights, Verge will apply its human-based discovery capabilities to validate targets. Lilly will select up to four targets identified by Verge with plans to advance through clinical development and commercialisation.
“Through this partnership with Lilly, we will examine the use of human data and machine learning to potentially overcome translational hurdles in historically challenging diseases with complex biology,” commented Alice Zhang, CEO and co-founder, Verge Genomics.
“This collaboration also builds on the significant momentum for Verge in 2021, as we advance our wholly-owned lead PIKFyve programs for ALS and COVID-19, and continue to expand our discovery and pipeline development efforts in disease areas with significant unmet need.”