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M2Gen, Absci Team to Accelerate Precision Oncology Drug Discovery With AI

NEW YORK – Drug development firm Absci said Tuesday that it is partnering with cancer-focused bioinformatics company M2Gen to accelerate the discovery process for new cancer biologics.

Under the partnership, Absci, which uses generative artificial intelligence to improve the development of biologic drugs, will gain access to M2Gen's ORIEN (Oncology Research Information Exchange Network) Avatar clinical and molecular dataset.

M2Gen, a spinout from Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, is the technology hub of the ORIEN network, which aims to deliver complex oncology data and analytics capabilities to researchers in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, as well as in academia. Its database of more than 360,000 cancer patients contains longitudinal clinical data as well as tumor and germline genomics data from whole-exome and whole-transcriptome sequencing.

Absci, of Vancouver, Washington, said that it will apply its reverse immunology technology to search the Avatar database for antibodies from patients showing "exceptional" immune responses. The company will then computationally reassemble antigen-antibody pairs to identify potential starting points for drug development in hopes of shortening the drug discovery process.

"This is an important leap forward to better understand individualized protein-protein interactions on cancer cells, moving us toward delivering on the promise of personalized medicine," Absci CEO Sean McClain said in a statement.

"[Absci's] AI-led approach to targeting biologics to make the drug discovery process more efficient and dramatically impact patients' lives made them an ideal partner," added M2Gen CEO Jim Gabriele. "Together, by utilizing our real-world data, we plan to advance personalized cancer treatments in pursuit of a cure."

M2Gen has forged a series of similar partnerships, including one announced in January with AI startup Zephyr AI that the firms expect will advance target and drug discovery for precision oncology treatments.