As reported in Business Wire
; VerSIM Life, a company that uses computational sciences to create novel machine learning to aid drug development, has announced that they are launching a pharmaceutical subsidiary, PulmoSIM Therapeutics. PulmoSIM has a rare disease mission, aiming to treat unmet needs of rare respiratory diseases. Their first objective will set out to find novel drugs reformulated from existing drugs for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)
is a rare condition that causes high blood pressure (hypertension) to progressively harden the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. This forces the heart to work harder in order to overcome the barriers and work the blood through the system, but the extra work means the blood reaching the brain is less rich in oxygen. While symptoms may develop gradually and be imperceptible for a long time, the disease causes patients to experience shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, dizziness, and swelling in the ankles and legs. The disease, which primarily affects females between ages 30 and 60, can be caused by a host of other diseases and mutations. Treatment is symptomatic.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
is the umbrella term for patients who experience the hardening of scar tissue in the lungs without an identifiable cause. This tissue also blocks blood flow, resulting in lower levels of oxygen, causing shortness of breath and a persistent, dry cough. Because of the catch-all nature of the disease, there are many theories on the disorder’s origin.
The new branch, PulmoSIM will begin their endeavor developing breakthrough therapies for rare progressive respiratory diseases through unique computational engineering, which modifies multiple biological pathways within a single drug. This means patients would only need to take one treatment in lieu of combination therapies. Their machine learning approach combines repurposed drugs and tinkers with the compounds of other already FDA-approved pharmaceuticals.
Their platform uses the incredible intelligence of machine learning to make such molecular revisions, which makes the process that much easier. The founder and CEO of VeriSIM, Dr. Jo Varshney, has spoken of their excitement about the launch. specifically about the abilities of the BIOiSIM platform to accelerate drug development and closing the gap between preclinical and clinical trials. He went on to say:
The company is excited to distinguish their innovative, approach which designs drugs that dig at the at the disease’s biological roots. The current methods only aim to provide symptomatic relief, and most pharmaceutical companies are weary to take on such an ambitious endeavor as a rare cure.
PulmoSIM’s drugs will be disease-specific, formulated with the help of machine learning in order to determine a novel combination, mixing repurposed drugs and tinkering with other pharmaceuticals in order to target the underlying biology. First up to the bat are treatments for IPF and PAH. This approach avoids some traditional meddlesome side effects of repurposing drugs, which often provide a misfit solution.
They believe this shift is fundamental, paving the way for real, life-changing remedies. The Scientific Founder, Dr. Vivek Gupta said,
“Out of >7,000 rare diseases, many exist in hard-to-reach peripheral regions of the respiratory system. PulmoSIM aims to leverage the immense potential drug repurposing has to offer, to tackle at least a few of these rare diseases. Development of affordable, and commercially feasible therapies is one of the many ways to improve quality of life and compliance among the patients suffering from these indications.”
Rare disease patients benefit enormously from technology like this, which makes it that much easier to create solutions. Hopefully, IPF and PAH are just the start.