Boehringer Ingelheim and IBM collaborate to advance GenAI

IBM building

Boehringer Ingelheim and IBM have announced an agreement, enabling Boehringer to use IBM’s foundation model technologies. 

The German drugmaker will become the latest Big Pharma to apply machine learning tools to its drug discovery efforts by harnessing an AI model trained in the computer labs of IBM.

IBM’s foundation model technologies are used to design antibody candidates for the defined targets which are screened with AI-enhanced simulation to select and refine the best binders for the target. Moving forward, the results from the lab experiments will be used to improve the in-silico methods via feedback loops.

This IBM-developed, pre-trained AI model will be further fine-tuned on additional Boehringer proprietary data. Together, Boehringer and IBM researchers aim to accelerate the antibody discovery process to treat diseases like cancer, through in-silico processes.

Andrew Nixon, global head, biotherapeutics discovery, Boehringer Ingelheim, said: “We are very excited to collaborate with the research team at IBM, who share our vision of making in silico biologic drug discovery a reality.

“I am confident that by joining forces with IBM scientists, we will develop an unprecedented platform for accelerated antibody discovery which will enable Boehringer to develop and deliver new treatments for patients with high unmet needs.” 

Alessandro Curioni, vice president, accelerated discovery, IBM Research, also commented: “IBM has been at the forefront of creating generative AI models that extend AI’s impact beyond the domain of language.

“We are thrilled to now bring IBM’s multimodal foundation model technologies to Boehringer, a leader in the development and manufacturing of antibody-based therapies, to help accelerate the pace at which Boehringer can create new therapeutics.”