On-demand AI platform gets Innovate UK funding

Chief.AI and Medicines Discovery Catapult have been awarded £370,000 of funding from Innovate UK to develop a searchable online platform that aims to make AI accessible to all drug discovery researchers.

Users will be able to search by sector and/or keyword to discover and connect their own machine and database to the relevant AI algorithm on a pay as you go, on-demand basis. Through the platform they can find downloadable, off-the-shelf AI models, algorithms and high-quality data.

By providing easy access to scarce but invaluable, cutting edge skills, resources and expertise, the platform aims to enable UK SMEs to leverage AI at the click of a button.

Medicines Discovery Catapult will support the development of high-quality datasets and plan to provide exclusive access via Chief.AI’s platform to their own novel AI algorithms; state-of-the-art image processing models are capable of extracting information from pharmacological data and medical images in scientific journal papers to predict a potential drug target’s performance.

The platform will have a comprehensive rating, benchmarking, pricing and scoring system and will provide tailored sector relevant services as opposed to a one stop shop. Each AI algorithm will be further validated by customer use and experience.

AI has the potential to solve many of the underlying issues with drug discovery. For example, deep learning algorithms could analyse molecules and predict how they might act in the human body at an earlier stage than in the traditional drug discovery process.

A number of companies are developing AI services and investment in AI for drug discovery is surging. The UK in particular has been a hub of activity, with the government’s Biomedical Catalyst (BMC) programme recently announcing millions of pounds worth of funding for AI projects.

However, lack of expertise and lack of knowledge about available services is a barrier to uptake. Lack of sufficient high-quality structured and standardised data also represents a major challenge in the implementation of AI.

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