Iktos and Bayer Cooperate on Use of AI to Design Crop Protection Products

19.12.2023 - Iktos, a French company specialized in artificial intelligence (AI) for new drug design, and Bayer’s Crop Science division announced a collaboration to expand the use of AI in the discovery and development of new sustainable crop protection products.

Bayer will use Iktos’s de novo generative design software Makya to facilitate the design of novel molecules according to pre-defined profiles and accelerate hit-to-lead/lead optimization, whereby potential molecular candidates are further optimized and developed into lead compounds.

Makya is based on deep learning generative models which design and optimize, in-silico, novel molecules that satisfy multiple parameters, such as efficacy, selectivity, safety, and sustainability. The technology, Iktos claims, can bring new insights and directions into the molecular discovery process based on a comprehensive data-driven chemical structure generation technology. It also allows scientists to analyze billions of molecules in a virtual environment, enabling the exploration of new and larger chemical spaces than previously possible.

“The world’s farmers need dependable and sustainable solutions to overcome current and future challenges including climate change, the increasing resistance of pests to existing solutions and the growing societal expectations about the food we eat and the health of our planet” said Rachel Rama, head of Small Molecules at Bayer’s Crop Science division. “Bayer’s CropKey approach to crop protection innovation is made possible by data-driven breakthrough technologies such as those made accessible by Iktos. They will allow us to unlock a new way to protect crops, food security and the environment and, in doing so, set a new benchmark in the industry,” Rama added.

Yann Gaston-Mathé, co-founder and CEO of Iktos, commented: “We are thrilled and proud to join forces with Bayer, a leading global life science company and to have Bayer scientists use our software in their small molecule active ingredient design. It is our ultimate goal to facilitate our technology usage by expert discovery scientists, who have deep knowledge and understanding of their discovery programs. This way, the promise of AI to dramatically improve discovery will have a better chance to be realized and impact small molecule active ingredient development.”