Case Study – AZothBio Accelerates New Drug Discovery Using Deep Learning on Rescale

From Startup to World-Class Bio-Pharmaceutical Company

The team of researchers, scientists, and engineers at AZothBio bring rich experience from their backgrounds in life sciences, biotechnologies, and pharmaceuticals. Their mission is to combine their expertise to catalyze new drug discovery and bring more competitive products to more patients. When conducting their research and development, AZothBio uses digital tools and proprietary artificial intelligence logic to uncover new therapies and drug candidates. These techniques require significant high performance computing (HPC) resources to handle high fidelity simulations.

When AZothBio’s compute demands exceeded the capabilities of their on-premises hardware, they sought a solution from Rescale that could support their complex and custom applications in a way that is simple, scalable, and allowed them to focus on what they do best: cutting-edge R&D innovation. In order to simulate large-scale algorithms in the cloud, understanding not only the R&D challenges but also cloud infrastructure, HPC, and configurations is essential. To save critical time and productivity, AZothBio adopted the Rescale platform to transform their digital capabilities. 

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Transforming R&D Capabilities to Meet Urgent Public Health Needs

AZothBio first collaborated with Rescale through the Tech Against COVID-19 program by using Rescale’s cloud HPC environment which allowed AZothBio to easily onboard their software and use their methodology to conduct COVID-19 research. Using Rescale’s end-to-end HPC-as-a-Service workflows, AZothBio was able to quickly identify the best infrastructure on AWS (also a sponsor for the Tech Against COVID-19 initiative) to run their workloads using hardware with the best performance profile based on their unique software needs. Through this program, AZothBio initiated a project to discover immunoreactive substances targeting the infection of the coronavirus and quickly expanded to other projects.

Because the bio-pharmaceutical industry is highly competitive with limited resources, a high degree of focus and efficiency is required to succeed. AZothBio, a lean startup but quickly growing in the biomedical field, needed a solution to enhance the agility of their R&D operations. Using the Rescale platform, AZothBio was able to create a research system for selecting drug candidates with efficient cost-performance while accelerating lead identification through massive data analysis and predictive simulation using their own proprietary deep learning-based algorithms in ways not possible with traditional methods.

AZothBio’s proprietary epitope prediction AI model uses deep learning processes, and analyzes the biological data related to antigen/antibody reactions to predict peptide sequences that activate the immune response. The combination of the AI model and genome analytics widens the possibilities for developing immunotherapeutic drugs and vaccines. However, as they scaled up multiple areas of research their on-premises compute environment could not support the capacity and complexity of their tools, and it would be time and cost prohibitive to rebuild them in-house. Through Rescale, the team was able to access pre-installed software and the best-fit GPU hardware to successfully run their epitope AI models and expedite their other efforts in genome and peptide discovery research from 5 days to within 24 hours per analysis.

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Harnessing Platforms to Power Modern Innovation

Having the right platforms for innovation can accelerate the prediction and identification of lead drug and therapy candidates. “Rescale was immediately deployable and offers an easy-to-use environment. Previously, it was a significant burden on our side to set up GPUs and we are happy to now have Rescale to drive critical analysis and reduce the risks of cost and delays,” said Managing Director of AZothBio, Jerry Maeng. They plan to continue to partner with Rescale to deploy new AI models for lead identification to become a global leader in bio-pharmaceutical innovation.