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Meta Is Using AI To Help Pharmaceutical Companies


Expect more vaccines to be pushed in the next couple of decades.

Facebook parent company Meta has created a new AI-based program that has the full capability of creating technological developments that could be potentially used in the pharmaceutical industry.

The new AI-program is called ESMFold.

In a new report by the Wall Street Journal ESMFold is able “to generate a public database cataloging the predicted structure of 617 million proteins.”

Here’s what the Post Millennial reported:

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has created an AI-based computer program, ESMFold, that is capable of predicting how millions of proteins are structured, in a technological development that could be used in the development of pharmaceuticals.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Meta AI, the company’s research department, used ESMFold to generate a public database cataloging the predicted structure of 617 million proteins.

Proteins are composed of long strands of amino acids and their structures are determined by a DNA genome. In the human body, proteins are essential to the function of cells and organs.

Pharmaceutical companies use proteins to develop drugs that treat many ailments and diseases, including some types of cancer, HIV, and heart disease. Those companies have started to use AI to create new drugs for diseases, some of which currently have no cure.

Here’s what WSJ reported:

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Facebook parent company Meta Platforms Inc. has created a tool to predict the structure of hundreds of millions of proteins using artificial intelligence. Researchers say it promises to deepen scientists’ understanding of biology, and perhaps speed the discovery of new drugs.

Meta’s research arm, Meta AI, used the new AI-based computer program known as ESMFold to create a public database of 617 million predicted proteins. Proteins are the building blocks of life and of many medicines, required for the function of tissues, organs and cells.

Drugs based on proteins are used to treat heart disease, certain cancers and HIV, among other illnesses, and many pharmaceutical companies have begun to pursue new drugs with artificial intelligence. Using AI to predict protein structures is expected to not only boost the effectiveness of existing drugs and drug candidates but also help discover molecules that could treat diseases whose cures have remained elusive.

With ESMFold, Meta is squaring off against another protein-prediction computer model known as AlphaFold from DeepMind Technologies, a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet Inc. AlphaFold said last year that its database has 214 million predicted proteins that could help accelerate drug discovery.

Meta says ESMFold is 60 times faster than AlphaFold, but less accurate. The ESMFold database is larger because it made predictions from genetic sequences that hadn’t been studied previously.


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