BioMap and MBZUAI establish Middle East’s first biocomputing lab

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Published: Thu 23 Mar 2023, 2:31 PM

BioMap, a leading AI life science platform, announced its strategic cooperation with Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), a world-leading AI research institution in establishing the first biocomputing innovation research laboratory in the Middle East on March 6.

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The laboratory’s research will be carried out in two distinct directions: the de novo design of oil degradation enzymes, and mining for potential drug targets for the treatment of ageing-related and rare diseases.

Using BioMap’s world-leading cross-modal bio-computing model, 'xTrimo (Cross-modal Transformer Representation of Interactome and Multi-Omics)', the two parties will explore new technologies to advance large-scale life science models in protein generation, protein structure prediction, cell function prediction, de novo drug design, and other life science tasks. With xTrimo’s state-of-the-art performance (SOTA), the two parties aim to drive breakthroughs in AI-generated proteins (AIGP) to address the Middle East's extensive needs in medical health, drug design, energy, and environmental protection.

The signing ceremony was attended by Jiarun Qu, vice-president at Strategic Development of BioMap, and Dr Kun Zhang from Mohamed bin Zayed University (MBZUAI). During the ceremony, the two organisations introduced their collaboration roadmap, and BioMap shared the technical progress made with its xTrimo model system and its strategic development plan for the Middle East.

“With our AIGP platform, we're hoping to create a brand-new protein that'll be able to break down oil contaminations at lower temperatures without needing any coenzyme assistance,” said Qu, speaking on the plans for the lab’s oil degradation enzyme research. “Our target is for a 10-fold increase in alkane oxygenase catalytic function." This development could improve upon the efficiency and environmental impact of such processes as marine oil spill cleanup, oil and gas storage, and transportation.

The two parties will also focus on scientific research on ageing-related diseases, a major public health challenge around the world. “People are living longer and the population is getting older, so drug targets for ageing-related diseases have become one of the research hotspots in the field of life sciences," added Qu. “We will collaborate using large-scale AI models and multi-omics pre-training to accelerate the discovery of drug targets for ageing-related diseases." Qu continued, “This will allow us to develop personalised treatments that people really need."

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