Deep Genomics Partners with U.S. Startup to Further Develop AI Platform

One of Canada’s leading genome startups is working with a notable U.S. partner to expand their knowledge in the space.

Toronto’s Deep Genomics is collaborating with Cambridge’s Wave Life Sciences to help identify therapies for the treatment of genetic neuromuscular disorders. Deep Genomics will use their industry-leading machine-learning-driven biomedical platform to help Wave deliver their therapies to patients with genetically-defined diseases.

“Wave is an industry leader in developing optimized oligonucleotides and in adopting science-based disruptive technologies,” said Brendan Frey, founder and CEO of Deep Genomics. “For this reason, Wave and Deep Genomics are a good match. Wave’s efforts complement our discovery platform, which combines automation, high volume data acquisition and genome biology in a machine learning system. By working together, we aim to extend what is currently known about splicing targets in genetic neuromuscular disorders.”

Frey has stated that Deep Genomics has spoken with some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies but chose to work with Wave due to their research-focused startup mentality.

With this new collaboration, the two companies will test oligonucleotides against therapeutic targets within multiple genes involved in neuromuscular disorders. In more layman’s terms, oligonucleotides are small bits of nucleic acids that can be designed to help specific disorders involving diseases and ailments that target how muscles operate.

“Deep Genomics is a world leader in building machine learning systems that incorporate advanced biological knowledge and data, and we are excited to use these systems for drug discovery,” said Paul Bolno, CEO and president of Wave Life Sciences. “We believe this collaboration will enable a more profound understanding of splicing biology and illuminate new approaches to increase the size of patient populations with genetic neuromuscular disorders that may be eligible for treatment.”

Wave will use Deep Genomics’ machine learning platform to identify potential cause and effect relationships specific to neuromuscular targets that involve splicing regulation. Wave’s platform involves chemistry that is used to validate those targets and show exactly how targeted intervention would work across phenotypes

“We intend to use these new insights to expand the universe of druggable splicing targets beyond Duchenne muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy and direct our highly efficient stereopure oligonucleotides toward optimal regions or sequences within those targets,” said Bolno.

This kind of partnership helps Deep Genomics further the testing of their machine learning platform, as well as a way to see how the company can quickly deploy the output of that platform in a drug development scenario.

Deep Genomics has been one of Canada’s most-successful medical and genomic startups, raising $13 million in late 2017 to further expand their presence and add more researchers. They are based at the MaRS Discovery District.