AstraZeneca collaborates with Absci, investing $247 million in GenAI for pioneering cancer antibody drug discovery.

AstraZeneca has partnered with Absci Corp to invest up to $247 million in the development of new cancer treatments using GenAI. The Financial Times first reported this partnership, focusing on creating novel antibody therapies to target cancer. The financial structure of the deal includes an upfront fee, R&D funding, milestone payments, and future royalties from product sales.

Absci has developed an innovative approach that uses “zero-shot” GenAI, a unique method for designing antibodies that specifically target cancer cells, without relying on existing antibody data. This process involves extensive studies of protein-protein interactions, which form the backbone of their Drug Creation platform. The platform combines wet-lab assays and machine-learning models to accelerate the creation of novel antibody designs.

The partnership between AstraZeneca and Absci marks a major change in the field of biologic drug discovery. By incorporating GenAI, the conventional six-year timeline for developing drug leads could be reduced to just 18-24 months. This acceleration also offers a greater likelihood of success in clinical settings, transforming the way therapeutic antibodies are discovered and developed.

Absci’s expanding influence is evident in its recent $650 million deal with Almirall and its internal focus on cytokine biology, particularly its leading candidate ABS-101. Amidst a wave of GenAI adoption in large-molecule therapy development, AstraZeneca’s partnership is a testament to the growing recognition of GenAI’s transformative potential in biotechnology.