Charles River Laboratories International and Aitia have entered into a strategic agreement, allowing Aitia access to Logica, Charles River’s artificial intelligence (AI) powered drug discovery solution.

Aitia will deploy Logica across its portfolio of novel drug targets to optimise the discovery and early development of therapeutic programs for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases, as well as cancers like prostate cancer and multiple myeloma.

The collaboration aims to leverage AI technology to advance drug candidates in these therapeutic areas.

Aitia CEO and co-founder Colin Hill said: “Unravelling the complex genetic and molecular circuitry of neurodegenerative disorders is critical to the discovery of treatments that significantly slow or reverse these devastating diseases.

“I do not believe we will get there without the insights from our Digital Twins, which now combined with the advantages of Logica, positions Aitia to rapidly translate our discoveries into novel drug candidates. We are excited to join forces with Charles River, leveraging their decades of industry expertise in research to fuel our R&D efforts.”

Charles River corporate senior vice president and chief scientific officer Julie Frearson said: “Combining Aitia’s Digital Twins with Logica’s next-generation solution stands to transform the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for neurological diseases and oncology.

“The research landscape for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s has moved slowly in recent years, and we are excited for the impact that this combined AI solution can deliver to patients.”

Additionally, Charles River and Aitia have formalised a strategic partnership with a focus on advancing the development of a Patient-Derived Xenograft (PDX) Digital Twin. This collaboration aims to predict the most suitable tumour models for in vivo oncology research.

By leveraging Charles River’s extensive, well-characterised PDX data and expertise, coupled with Aitia’s Digital Twin technology, the partnership aims to create PDX Digital Twins for various cancer types. As a significant aspect of this collaboration, Charles River has made an equity investment in Aitia.

In the realm of drug discovery, Digital Twins play a crucial role in simulating precise gene and protein knockdowns at the individual patient level across diverse patient cohorts.

This approach aids in the discovery and genetic validation of novel drug targets. Similarly, the concept can be applied to specific tumour types, facilitating the design of more targeted preclinical studies for oncology research. Digital Twins enable the simulation of disease progression and drug response, offering insights for existing drug candidates. This approach helps identify biomarkers, leading to improved selection of existing therapies and effective combination treatments.

In 2022, Charles River and Valo Health introduced Logica, a collaborative initiative that harnesses the power of the Valo Opal Computational Platform and Charles River’s expertise in preclinical research.

Logica transforms the drug discovery process by seamlessly translating targets into candidate nominations. Offered as a fully managed, risk-sharing model, Logica aligns most of the client’s costs with success.

Logica incorporates industry-leading predictive models, chemical design, and synthesis capabilities, and DNA-encoded libraries and in silico high-throughput screening from Valo’s Opal Computational Platform.

Charles River’s expertise encompasses all aspects of discovery optimisation, including high-throughput screening, medicinal chemistry, ADME, biology, pharmacology, safety testing, and IND submission. This marks the first time that these capabilities have been united to create a computation-powered, integrated target-to-candidate offering.

In 2022, Charles River and Flagship’s Pioneering Medicines announced an agreement to implement Logica across a portfolio of targets, to develop optimised small molecules for novel therapies addressing unmet medical needs.

Recently, Charles River and Related Sciences disclosed a multi-programme collaboration to deploy Logica across several previously unexplored targets.