A pioneering real-world example of how advanced AI can contribute to better medicine, uncovering the roots of rare metabolic syndromes to optimize the impact of new drugs
-- WuXi NextCODE's DeepCODESM algorithm identifies impact scores for all rare genetic variants in key metabolic pathway correlated to obesity
-- These can be used to create companion diagnostics to identify patients likely to benefit from novel therapeutics targeting this pathway and to streamline clinical trials
SHANGHAI and CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts and REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Jan. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- WuXi NextCODE, the emerging global standard platform for genomic data, today announced a partnership with Rhythm Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RYTM), a biopharmaceutical company aimed at developing and commercializing therapies for the treatment of rare genetic disorders of obesity, under which Rhythm is applying WuXi NextCODE's proprietary deep learning capabilities to identify key genetic markers for rare metabolic syndromes. The goal is to use that information to optimize the development of Rhythm's investigational compounds. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The first phase of the partnership involved mining WuXi NextCODE's knowledgebase of all major reference datasets to identify all rare sequence variants in the POMC, PCSK1, and LEPR genes in the MC4R pathway. This is a key biological pathway in humans that regulates weight by increasing energy expenditure and reducing appetite. WuXi NextCODE's advanced artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory then applied its proprietary DeepCODE algorithm to score the variants for their predictive impact on obesity. Testing people living with obesity for the highest impact variants in these genes may enable the identification of those who may be candidates for treatment with therapies developed to target the MC4R pathway, as well as to a broader understanding of the mechanisms through which this pathway contributes to obesity.
"We are committed to using the most cutting-edge technologies to develop treatment options for patients affected by rare genetic disorders of obesity," said Lex Van der Ploeg, chief scientific officer of Rhythm. "Data provided by advanced AI can play an important role in our ability to identify patients who might be most appropriate for treatment with our compounds."
"This is a pathbreaking demonstration of how AI can advance drug development and we are thrilled to be partnering with Rhythm to put our capabilities to work to meet such an important unmet medical need," said Hannes Smarason, chief executive officer of WuXi NextCODE. "We are also very excited to take the next steps in this partnership, and are applying the breadth of our capabilities, from large-scale cohort validation to functional assays, to help advance Rhythm's clinical development programs. This is important work in the context of rare disease more broadly and we are proud to be a part of it."
About WuXi NextCODE WuXi NextCODE is a fully integrated contract genomics organization (CGO) building the global standard platform for genomic data. With offices in Shanghai; Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Reykjavik, Iceland, we serve the leading population genomics, precision medicine, diagnostics and wellness initiatives and enterprises using the genome to improve health around the world. Our capabilities span study design, sequencing, secondary analysis, storage, interpretation, scalable analytics, and AI and deep learning – all backed by the most proven and widely used technology for organizing, mining and sharing genome sequence data. We are also applying the same capabilities to advance a growing range of sequence-based tests and scans in China. Visit us on the web at wuxinextcode.com.
Forward-looking statements This press release contains certain statements that are forward-looking within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and that involve risks and uncertainties, including statements regarding Rhythm's clinical research programs and its commitment to addressing unmet needs in patients with certain forms of genetic obesity. Such statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to, our ability to enroll patients in clinical trials, the outcome of clinical trials, the impact of competition, the ability to achieve or obtain necessary regulatory approvals, the impact of changes in the financial markets and global economic conditions, risks associated with data analysis and reporting, and other risks as may be detailed from time to time in our Annual Reports on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligations to make any revisions to the forward-looking statements contained in this release or to update them to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this release, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.