Insilico Medicine Joins JHU Montgomery County Campus as New Tenant
Forget about the Fountain of Youth. Insilico Medicine, the newest tenant at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, is working on its own strategies to delay aging.
Using artificial intelligence, Insilico Medicine is developing biomarkers that predict a person’s biological age. The company’s goal is to become the first and largest drug discovery company to combat aging and aging-related diseases while being at the forefront of personalized medicine. In other words, keep people healthier longer.
The company was founded in 2014, with Chief Operating Officer Qingsong Zhu named the first employee. Zhu has Hopkins connections: He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, working in a breast cancer lab. After eight years at Hopkins, Zhu joined Insilico Medicine. The company was in an incubator program through a joint initiative between Johns Hopkins and the city of Baltimore.
Now, the company has its headquarters at the JHU Montgomery County Campus, where five employees are based. Insilico has 50 employees globally at locations in Oxford, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Hong Kong, Taipei and Seoul.
In silico means performed on the computer – as opposed to in vitro, meaning performed in glass such as in a test tube; and in vivo, meaning performed on humans. In silico research can be more efficient and less expensive than testing in vitro or in vivo, Zhu said. Using artificial intelligence, researchers at Insilico Medicine try to determine how molecules and compounds can affect cells, and then determine what drugs can treat diseases associated with aging, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, fibrosis, Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, sarcopenia, dermatological diseases and more.
Testing molecules using genomics, data and advanced computer algorithms can potentially predict compound efficacy and clinical trial results and pinpoint which drugs might work. In addition to working on its own drug discovery programs, Insilico Medicine collaborates with large pharmaceutical companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline.
A few weeks ago, Insilico Medicine announced a strategic investment from WuXi AppTec, a Chinese pharmaceutical and technology company. The two companies plan to collaborate on enhancing “Insilico Medicine's work in the innovative approaches to the generation of novel molecules using a variety of machine learning and deep learning techniques, as well as to expand a variety of the biomarker discovery initiatives,” according to a news release.
Insilico Medicine recently was named a top 100 Artificial Intelligence company by CB Insights.
Insilico Medicine also developed a web platform called Young.AI that uses blood test results to determine biological age. For example, a user can go to the website and upload blood test data. The user can then find out his or her biological age, manage health, track changes over time and make lifestyle improvements. To develop the platform, Insilico Medicine used artificial intelligence to develop an algorithm to analyze the biochemistry and metabolic features of blood tests of tens of thousands of people.
Insilico Medicine joined the JHU Montgomery County Campus community in May.
Approximately 35 companies are located on the campus.
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