HomeAI Core TechnologiesOpenFold AI Research Consortium Welcomes Three New Members: UCB, NVIDIA and Valence...

OpenFold AI Research Consortium Welcomes Three New Members: UCB, NVIDIA and Valence Labs

The non-profit consortium is developing publicly accessible, advanced AI-based drug discovery software tools

Group aims to use AI to address ‘society’s deepest challenges

OpenFold, a non-profit artificial intelligence (AI) research consortium whose goal is to develop free and open-source software tools for biology and drug discovery, today announced the addition of three new industry members: UCB, NVIDIA, and Valence Labs (powered by Recursion). UCB and Valence Labs expand OpenFold’s reach and support within the pharmaceutical and TechBio industries, while NVIDIA’s AI computing expertise will help accelerate the technical progress of the consortium.

“AI as applied to proteins is one of the most promising areas for AI to have an impact on our day-to-day lives. The White House’s July 21 voluntary AI framework specifically mentions developing AI to address ‘society’s deepest challenges,’ giving drug discovery for oncology as an example,” said Lucas Nivon, one of the co-founders of OpenFold and CEO at Cyrus Biotechnology. “That requires efforts from the top minds in both tech and biotech, and today’s announcement brings in three key companies to help push OpenFold forward. Ultimately, the goal is that patients, especially those with unmet medical needs, can benefit from the contributions from UCB, NVIDIA and Valence Labs to support the efforts of OpenFold.”

OpenFold, a consortium of academic and industry partners founded in February 2022, is a project of the Open Molecular Software Foundation, a non-profit organization advancing molecular sciences by building communities for open-source research software development. The three new members join OpenFold’s founders and existing members: Mohammed AlQuraishi’s LaboratoryCyrus BiotechnologyArzedaOutpace Bio, Bayer, Basecamp Research, CHARMM Therapeutics and Dassault Systemes.

OpenFold’s mission is to bring the most powerful software ever created — AI systems with the ability to engineer the molecules of life — to everyone. These tools can be used by academics, biotech and pharmaceutical companies or students learning to create the medicines of tomorrow to accelerate basic biological research and bring new cures to market that would have been impossible to discover without AI.

UCB, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, is an innovation-driven global biopharmaceutical company powered by decades of scientific excellence and pioneering research in immunology and neurology. UCB has rich experience in Computer-Aided Drug Design (CADD) across physics and AI-based approaches, as well as the expertise in applying those tools to bring treatments to market.

“UCB is delighted to join the OpenFold Research Consortium, as we recognize that we can have a greater impact through open collaboration and partnerships, as well as through the use of new and advancing technologies such as artificial intelligence and computer-aided drug design. Through the application of science and technological excellence, our CADD team has enabled the discovery of some of our biologics-based treatments, and by joining the OpenFold consortium, we want to contribute to the advancement of protein structure prediction and open science,” said Dhaval Patel, chief scientific officer of UCB. “We are especially interested in AI methods to better predict protein/protein and protein/small molecule interactions. The OpenFold consortium is an excellent way for us to collaborate with other pharmaceutical and biotech companies in a pre-competitive area and with deep experts from academia to reach those goals.”

NVIDIA is a full-stack computing company pioneering innovations in AI, deep learning and accelerated computing. Its technology is helping advance numerous industries, such as drug discovery, alongside other areas of biopharma.

“Innovations in protein structure prediction can change the way we cure disease, produce energy and feed the world. OpenFold’s open research software development mission together with NVIDIA’s accelerated computing contributions has the potential to enable anyone and everyone to access the tools and methods needed to address these challenges,” said Anthony Costa, Group Lead for Life Sciences Developer Relations at NVIDIA.

Valence Labs, which formally launched as Recursion’s machine learning research engine in July 2023, aspires to lead the industry in the development of new tools, models and benchmarks while fostering community through open science and academic research. Earlier in 2023, NVIDIA and Recursion, including Valence Labs, formed a collaboration to build foundation models for drug discovery leveraging Recursion’s proprietary datasets and NVIDIA’s computational power.

“Valence Labs is honored to join OpenFold and excited to contribute to the growing movement of democratizing machine learning research for the drug discovery community,” said Daniel Cohen, President of Valence Labs. “Valence has a strong legacy of sharing our research and tools with the machine learning community, and we look forward to accelerating those efforts through the OpenFold consortium.”