Roivant says it is now possible for VR to impact on drug discovery decisions in a meaningful way
➨ Roivant has deployed the immersive scientific design and collaboration platform of VR software firm Nanome
➨ Nanome says this is the largest ever deployment of its platform
➨ Dozens of Roivant scientists located in various US states now able to visualise, modify, and simulate biological and chemical compounds within VR, using headsets including Oculus Quest
Roivant Discovery, the drug discovery arm of biopharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences, has deployed the immersive scientific design and collaboration platform of virtual reality (VR) software firm Nanome.
Nanome says this is the largest ever deployment of its platform, with dozens of Roivant scientists located in various US states now able to visualise, modify, and simulate biological and chemical compounds within VR, using headsets including Oculus Quest.
Roivant has connected the Nanome platform to its own computational capabilities for drug discovery, which utilise a mixture of quantum mechanics, molecular dynamics and machine learning techniques, all run on a combination of in-house and cloud computing resources.
Dr Woody Sherman, chief computational scientist at Roivant, explains: “The computational platform at Roivant Discovery generates dynamic 3D information about proteins and biomolecular systems, which we use to predict molecular properties and drive decisions in our drug discovery projects.”
What was missing was the means to virtually evaluate biological and chemical compounds at the molecular level: “Seeing molecules in VR brings a depth of understanding to our scientists that has previously been inaccessible. These insights, especially when coupled with our accurate predictive simulations, can lead to project breakthroughs and accelerate our progress toward the clinic.”
Dr Sherman continues: “Recent improvements in VR technology coupled with the richness of the Nanome software environment finally makes it possible for VR to impact drug discovery decisions in a meaningful way.”
“Our molecular simulations leverage quantum mechanics, molecular dynamics and machine learning to provide an unprecedented level of accuracy for the prediction of molecular structures, dynamics and drug properties related to discovering new medicines.”
“Now information from our simulations can more effectively be communicated throughout the organisation, leading to a deeper understanding of the dynamic nature of our pipeline targets and how to leverage that information to design better drug molecules.”
This large deployment comes after Nanome raised more than $3 million in funding earlier this year to scale up and expand its client base, which stood at more than 15 of the top US-based biopharmaceutical companies in September 2020.
Nanome also has plans to expand internationally. The company struck a partnership last year with Fujitsu to license its platform to pharmaceutical companies in Japan, with the potential to move into chemical engineering and materials science.