From Cancer to Covid, Drug Intelligent Science at Breakneck Pace with Liang Schweizer | Podcast #23
Welcome to the Talking Precision Medicine podcast. In this series, we sit down with experts on the application of AI and big data analytics in the drug discovery space. Our guests are innovators, business decision makers and thought leaders at the intersection of data and therapeutics. We discuss the promise, practice, challenges, and myths of AI in precision medicine. This show is brought to you by Genialis, and Rafael, our CEO, is your host.
Genialis is focused on data integration and predictive modeling of disease biology to help accelerate the discovery and de-risk the development of novel therapeutics.
Our guest for this episode of Talking Precision Medicine is Liang Schweizer from HiFiBiO Therapeutics – one of the most exciting young biotechs out there. They have built a discovery engine encompassing single cell, immune profiling and machine learning.
Let’s get right to it.
- Homepage: HiFiBiO Therapeutics
- Press release: HiFiBiO Therapeutics Completes First Cohort of a Phase I Study of its SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibody for the Treatment and Prevention of COVID-19
- Publication: Grosselin, et al. 2019. High-throughput single-cell ChIP-seq identifies heterogeneity of chromatin states in breast cancer. Nature Genetics, 51: 1060–1066.
- HiFiBiO Therapeutics is an emerging multinational company mobilizing the human immune system to combat cancer and autoimmune disease.
- Their unique approach called Drug Intelligent Science (DIS™) combines data intelligence with single-cell science to achieve optimal outcomes for target discovery, drug candidate identification, lead optimization, and patient selection.
- For biomarker identification their work is set in the following stages: After the tumor has been treated with a drug, a sample is taken and the tumor cells are individually encapsulated into tiny droplets that contain all required assay reagents. The droplets can now be separated using fluorescent color based on whether the cell shows a positive reaction to the treatment. Then sequencing methods are used to analyze gene expression differences between immune cells that respond to the drug with those that do not at the single cell level. ML algorithms can then be used to find predictive biomarkers of the responding cells and then applied to identify suitable patients for clinical studies. This technology can be used on any types of cells that can be dissociated at the single cell level.
- They mostly focus on immune modulation but most recently they completed the first (of three) cohort of the Phase I study of HFB30132A, a SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. HiFiBiO managed to rapidly advance this antibody from discovery to the dose of the first Phase I cohort in just eight months. They believe HFB30132A is uniquely positioned to treat patients early during infection, especially high-risk adults, to reduce instances of COVID-19 hospitalization and complications. Later this year, the Phase II/III study is planned to enroll high-risk adults with asymptomatic or mild to moderate COVID-19 to assess efficacy after the primary data readout demonstrates that HFB30132A can be safely administered. The antibody also seems effective towards the mutations of the virus.
- Besides the SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19, they are advancing 10 internal R&D programs, majority first-in-class, toward the clinic with multiple preclinical candidates demonstrating proof of concept in animal models.