New AI Tool from bioXcelerate Set to Speed Up Drug Discovery

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The health data science division of Optima Partners, bioXcelerate, has released a tool aimed at accelerating the drug discovery process.

The health data science division of Optima Partners Limited, bioXcelerate, announced, in a March 20, 2024 press release, its new artificial intelligence (AI) tool, PleioGraph, which has been designed to speed up the drug discovery process (1).

Using the company’s own machine learning algorithms to assess biological data, PleioGraph can aid drug developers to identify genetic colocalization—the process by which genes, proteins, and cells interact with each other to cause disease. By providing this information, drug developers can gain insights into how diseases develop, which will ultimately aid in speeding up the drug development process.

“The scale of data available is outpacing our ability to analyze it,” said Dr. Chris Foley, chief scientist and managing director at bioXcelerate, in the press release (1). “While patterns explaining how diseases occur are hidden within our ever-increasing databanks, AI technologies which quickly and accurately reveal these patterns are in short supply. At bioXcelerate, we are providing a solution to overcome these barriers. Combining our academic expertise with that of our unmatched breadth of health data science knowledge, our PleioGraph technology provides an exciting, industry-leading tool to supercharge early-phase drug discovery and ultimately, improve patient outcomes.”

Total expenditure on R&D across the global pharma industry was reported as $244 billion in 2022 (2). However, according to research from Deloitte, the return on investment being seen from R&D in 2022 fell to its lowest level at 1.2% (3). Additionally, the average time and cost of developing a new drug have both increased (3), and attrition rates remain stubbornly high, with some estimates claiming a failure rate of 90% for clinical drug development (4).


“Drug development costs are on the rise, and coupled with a high failure rate, the development of new treatments has become drawn out and costly,” added Dr. Heiko Runz, a scientific partner of Optima, in the press release (1). “By improving efficiencies in drug discovery, we hope to accelerate the emergence of novel medicines that positively impact patients’ lives and reach them more rapidly.”

An innovative health data division of Optima Partners, bioXcelerate was founded by academics from universities, including Cambridge, Edinburgh, Imperial College, and Oxford, all in the United Kingdom. The company is focused on using data science to enhance the pharmaceutical, biotech, and public health sectors, and is seeking to improve patient outcomes through catalyzing drug discovery and clinical development processes using advanced statistics, machine learning, and software engineering.


1. bioXcelerate. Groundbreaking Health Data Science Tool Set to Make Drug Discovery 100 Times Faster. Press Release, March 20, 2024.
2. Mikulic, M. Total Global Pharmaceutical R&D Spending 2014–2028. Statista, Oct. 6, 2023.
3. Deloitte. Deloitte Pharma Study: Drop-off in Returns on R&D Investments—Sharp Decline in Peak Sales per Asset. Press Release, Jan. 23, 2023.
4. Sun, D.; Gao, W.; Hu, H.; Zhou, S. Why 90% of Clinical Drug Development Fails and How to Improve it? Acta Pharm. Sin. B. 2022 12 (7) 3049–3062.

Source: bioXcelerate