Deep Genomics is blending two groundbreaking technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) and RNA research, to explore the intricate world of RNA biology and its potential implications in disease management and drug discovery. Their AI-powered foundation model, known as BigRNA, is specifically designed to unravel the complexities of RNA expression on a tissue-by-tissue basis, shedding light on how genetic variants can contribute to various diseases.
BigRNA, a transformer neural network, harnesses the power of deep learning to predict the biological mechanisms governing RNA expression. This includes the identification of binding sites for proteins and microRNAs, offering opportunities for the development of novel drug compounds.
Brendan Frey, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Deep Genomics, emphasized the AI’s ability to analyze DNA and RNA sequences to understand the impact of non-coding genes and mutations on protein function. This knowledge can aid in the design of RNA-based therapeutics, potentially addressing diseases caused by problematic protein overproduction or deficiency.
In a significant study, BigRNA demonstrated its capacity to design highly effective steric blocking oligonucleotides that act in a tissue-specific manner for genes involved in conditions such as Wilson disease and spinal muscular atrophy.
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BigRNA’s capabilities are underpinned by its extensive training on 1 trillion genomic signals from thousands of datasets, encompassing 1.8 billion tunable parameters. The details of this remarkable model have been published on the preprint server BioRxiv, and Deep Genomics intends to present its findings at forthcoming scientific meetings.
Deep Genomics envisions AI-driven gene-based therapies with customizable objectives. With a substantial $180 million raised in a 2021 series C venture capital round, the company is committed to advancing research on a range of computer-designed drugs. While its current pipeline includes undisclosed preclinical programs targeting metabolic and central nervous system diseases, it previously identified Wilson disease as one of its areas of focus.
The recent appointment of Brian O’Callaghan as CEO reflects Deep Genomics’ determination to further its research and therapeutic development efforts. As AI continues to unlock new possibilities in the realm of genomics and RNA biology, Deep Genomics remains at the forefront of innovative drug discovery and disease management.