Le Lézard
Classified in: Health, Science and technology, Business
Subjects: LIC, BFA

Fauna Bio Announces Strategic Collaboration with Lilly to Discover Novel Obesity Targets Using Convergencetm AI Platform

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Dec. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Fauna Bio, a biotechnology company improving human health by leveraging animal genomics, today announced a multi-year agreement with Eli Lilly and Company to apply Fauna's Convergencetm artificial intelligence (AI) platform to support preclinical drug discovery efforts in obesity. The two teams will collaborate to identify multiple drug targets.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Fauna Bio will receive an upfront payment, including an equity investment, and is eligible to receive up to an aggregate $494 million in pre-clinical, clinical and commercial milestone payments, as well as royalties on product sales.

"We are very excited to enter into this collaboration with Lilly, which showcases the power of our Convergencetm AI platform to rapidly identify novel targets for complex disease areas of high unmet need," said Ashley Zehnder, CEO & Co-Founder, Fauna Bio. "Lilly is a leader in obesity treatment, and our approach enables and accelerates discovery across different disease areas and modalities for our partners, who bring deep expertise in drug development."

Fauna's Convergencetm AI platform analyzes data collected from the protective adaptations of hibernation biology (and other extreme adaptations) to identify drug targets for humans. Fauna identifies the best genes to target for efficacy in diseases with high unmet need and can identify genes to target within a broad range of treatment modalities.

Ruth Gimeno, Ph.D., group vice president, diabetes, obesity and cardiometabolic research at Lilly, added: "Fauna Bio brings a unique approach to the discovery of novel targets for obesity. We look forward to working with the Fauna Bio team to realize the value of their platform and discover more effective treatments for patients with obesity."

Convergencetm AI platform leverages genomic analyses across 452 mammal species, including 65 hibernators. Fauna's primary discovery biobank data includes over 22 distinct tissue types collected at 13 unique and highly precise physiological time-points from the 13-lined ground squirrel, as well as tissue samples from tenrecs and spiny mice. In total, Fauna has collected thousands of transcriptomes, proteomes, and epigenomes and over 22 billion sequence reads.

Building on these rich and diverse datasets, Convergencetm is the world's first biomedical knowledge graph that integrates data from human patients and animals that naturally resist disease. Training on this knowledge graph, Convergencetm selects drug targets using an in-house custom Graph Neural Network (GNN) that is equipped with over 980 million model parameters. The combination of state-of-the-art AI and unique data allows for rapid and novel target identification.

About Fauna Bio

Fauna Bio is a biotechnology company using comparative genomics and data from "extreme mammals" capable of surviving conditions or physiological events that would be lethal to humans to identify drug targets to treat human disease. By comparing gene expression in animal species, Fauna Bio unlocks unique insights that drive innovative approaches to human disease prevention and treatment. For more information visit www.faunabio.com.

LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/company/faunabio/ 
Twitter: @faunabio 

SOURCE Fauna Bio

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