China’s AI-developed weight loss drug may help fight obesity, diabetes
Beijing, Sep 29 (IANS) A team of Chinese scientists harnessed the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to develop a new weight-loss drug that can not only tackle rising obesity but also treat Type 2 diabetes.
Developed by AI-powered drug discovery company MindRank, the drug called MDR-001 works by binding to the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1-R) — a well-established drug target, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
By binding to this receptor, the drug stimulates insulin release from the pancreas, which helps to lower blood sugar levels and reduce weight.
In June, MDR-001 successfully completed phase 1 clinical trials, affirming its superior efficacy and safety.
In early September, it began its phase 2 clinical trials, with participants receiving the drug in multiple doses, the report said. The medicine has currently entered its phase 2 clinical trials.
“The preclinical development of a pipeline takes three to four years to complete. However, MDR-001 obtained Investigational New Drug (IND) approval from both the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and NMPA (National Medical Products Administration) in 19 months, effectively doubling the speed,” Jin Xurui, an AI drug discovery scientist from MindRank, was quoted as saying.
This remarkable achievement was made possible by MindRank’s self-developed AI computing platform Molecule Pro and data centre, which contribute at every stage of drug development.
MDR-001 also marks the entry of Chinese companies in the multibillion-dollar market that is currently dominated by the US pharmaceutical industry.
According to Niu, Chinese companies possess certain advantages in specific segments.
“Presently, more than half of the global AI pharmaceutical companies are concentrated in the US, including pioneering companies such as Schrodinger and Relay. However, foreign companies only hold a slight advantage in AI drug development,” Niu said.
“In this competitive landscape, different countries may possess their respective advantages, but the ultimate goal remains the same – to address real-world problems and improve human health.”