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Curreio and PFN Collaborate on Drug Discovery Using Deep Learning and Structural Analysis


TOKYOApril 5, 2021Curreio, Inc. (Curreio) and Preferred Networks, Inc. (PFN) announced today that the companies have started collaborative research for discovery of novel drug candidates using their deep learning and structural analysis technologies. 

The companies will combine Curreio’s cryo-electron microscopy technology with PFN’s technological expertise in deep learning to accelerate and improve conventional structure-based drug discovery (SBDD). Curreio and PFN will collaborate to identify new drug candidates for a range of targets including difficult-to-target proteins, which can potentially pave the way for new cures for diseases that still lack effective treatments.

Structural analysis using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has been attracting growing attention as a new technique for the 3D structural analysis of biomolecules, especially after the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to the scientists who developed the technology. Cryo-EM has enabled researchers to perform single-particle analysis of structures, including membrane proteins, in aqueous solutions without crystallizing them.

Comparison of molecular structure resolution between conventional electron microscope (left)
and cryo-electron microscope (right)
(Image credit:
Martin Högbom/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences)

Curreio has extensive and unique know-how in sample preparation, grid preparation, and data analysis for cryo-EM and is known for its ability to analyze structures of proteins and protein complexes that are particularly hard to analyze with conventional technologies.

With the goal to put machine learning, deep learning, and other recent technologies into practical use, PFN has been conducting biomedical research and development projects including miRNA analysis, medical image analysis and molecular design. In the pharmaceutical domain, PFN has focused on using deep learning for SBDD, which is regarded as one of the most promising ways to reduce the considerable time and cost currently required for identifying drug candidates.

“We are very pleased to have a new collaboration with PFN, a company with strong technological expertise,” Yoshiyuki Kobayashi, Chief Scientific Officer of Curreio said. “We believe that this collaboration will enable us to take on the challenge of new drug discovery.”

“High-quality data of protein structures are indispensable to structure-based drug discovery that uses deep learning,” Hiroyuki Kobayashi, VP of Life and Materials Science at PFN said. “Curreio has a strong track record in cryo-EM technology, and we look forward to collaborating with them and accelerating innovation in drug discovery.”

About Curreio, Inc.
Curreio Inc. was established in August 2019 as a company specializing in structural analysis of biomolecules using cryo-electron microscopy. Curreio ‘s strength lies in its cutting-edge structural analysis technologies and know-how, and it is currently developing its SBDD business. Curreio ‘s mission is to provide people with new drugs based on its corporate philosophy of “using the power of science to bring a safer and healthier life for people” and it is engaged in joint research with pharmaceutical companies and academic institutes.


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