Universities partner to revolutionise drug discovery

A new partnership between UK’s Oxford University and King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia sees the creation of a new Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Precision Medicine.

The agreement will allow experts from disciplines as disparate as medicine, drug discovery and artificial intelligence to come together to find new treatments for common diseases and for rare genetic conditions.

The collaboration hopes, over the next five years, to identify new drug targets, and to create new platforms and technologies to aid in the discovery of new drugs for those targets.

Initially, the programme will focus on using AI to guide the discovery of new drugs for treatment of cardio-metabolic diseases. Both universities recognise that digital technologies are transforming how health care operates and how new medicines are discovered. Linking the core medical research skills with AI, machine learning and quantum computing, in addition to the sharing of expertise between the two universities, is expected to accelerate the development of new medicines and have a huge impact on rarer diseases where there is currently an untapped, unmet need for therapies.

Credit: King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia

Education will also be a key component of the partnership, including welcoming students from Saudi Arabia to Oxford’s historic cloisters, which have been welcoming international students since the 12th century.

It’s hoped that the outputs from the new research centre will further strengthen Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme which prioritises innovation as much as it will feed into providing solutions to challenging disease in the UK, Saudi Arabia and beyond.