An AI-Driven Genomics Company Is Turning to Drugs


Featured in MIT Technology Review, May 3, 2017


The next blockbuster drug could be developed with help from machine-learning techniques that are rapidly spreading from AI research to pharmacology labs.

Deep Genomics, a Canadian company that uses machine learning to trace potential genetic causes for disease, announced Tuesday that it’s getting into drug development. It joins a growing list of AI companies betting that their techniques can help produce powerful new drugs by finding subtle signals in huge quantities of genomic data.

Deep Genomics was founded by Brendan Frey, a professor at the University of Toronto who specializes in both machine learning and genomic medicine. His company uses deep learning, or very large neural networks, to analyze genomic data. Identifying one or more genes responsible for a disease can help researchers develop a drug that addresses the behavior of the faulty genes.