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New Grant to Support Device Coating Research

Numerate, a computational drug design company applying artificial intelligence (AI) at cloud scale to transform small molecule drug discovery, was awarded a grant by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to improve outcomes for orthopaedic implant recipients.

We typically do not cover pharmaceutical news, but I found this one to be compelling. Also, I really wanted to untangle the sentence, "computational drug design company applying artificial intelligence at cloud scale to transform small molecule drug discovery." Here's what I found.

Numerate has undertaken a project, “EZH2 inhibitors as endoprosthetic device coatings that induce osteogenesis and promote implant osseointegration,” seeking to identify drug options for use in hip and knee implant surface coatings. The combination of drug and device is expected to support integration of existing bone into the implant—which in turn could help to reduce complications and potentially add to the life of an implant, especially valuable in patients with bone disorders.

The project is based on lab work performed at the Mayo Clinic that focused on the role of an enzyme in skeletal development. The funding will support more study of enzyme inhibition.

Numerate's process uses proprietary AI to assess all available data and apply that to drug design objectives. It harnesses the "computational power of the cloud" and growing drug discovery data, applying algorithms to rapidly optimize leads and identify candidates, which can in turn accelerate clinical programs. As noted by John Griffin, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Numerate, “Our AI-based drug discovery platform has the potential to accelerate the discovery and development of novel small molecule compounds with optimized properties for use in combination with a device, and with minimized systemic toxicity. We are looking forward to collaborating with Dr. van Wijnen and his team at Mayo Clinic.”

Given the high level of interest in coatings* and the myriad ways that they may work, I think a partnership that gets industry another step closer to better outcomes is a welcome addition to the conversation.

Source: Numerate

*BONEZONE® October 2017, "Coatings Support Early Integration, Infection Prevention"

We spoke with three individuals, all professors and one a surgeon, all at different stages of coating research. 

We asked about the basics behind the technology they seek to advance, what role coatings play in the implant, what level they perceive their colleagues’ understanding of coatings science to be, what they would share with device companies commercializing new technologies. And, what will we be saying about coatings five years from now. Here's what they're excited about.