AI in antibody drug discovery as a tool, not a magic wand

Early in the pandemic, AbCellera entered into a partnership with Lilly to co-develop antibody therapies for COVID-19. The pact eventually led to the development of a number of antibodies, including bamlanivimab, etesevimab and bebtelovimab. Shown here is the antibody bebtelovimab binding to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, highlighting key mutations from the omicron variant. The green structures represent the target-binding fragments (Fabs) of bebtelovimab, while the purple structure show the virus’s spike protein, with omicron mutations highlighted in red.

AI in drug discovery is a topic that gets an outsized amount of attention, observes Carl Hansen, CEO of AbCellera, a company specializing in antibody drug discovery. “It’s as if people are saying, ‘AI is here, it’s going to save us. Thank God, we’re finally gonna be able to create drugs,” he said. “To me, that’s implicitly …

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