PHILADELPHIA, June 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --
FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC) has entered into a collaboration with Cyclica Inc, a leading biotechnology company specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) and computational biophysics, to accelerate and improve the efficiency of discovering new crop protection chemistry. This is among the first of several new technology collaborations and approaches that FMC is pursuing to expand its research of novel active ingredients that protect crops from diseases and destructive pests.
"Today we have an award-winning pipeline of more than 25 promising new molecules," said Dr. Kathleen Shelton, vice president and chief technology officer of FMC. "Discovering a new molecule with the right efficacy, mode of action and sustainability profile is a complex, multi-year process requiring hundreds of researchers testing tens of thousands of compounds annually. Augmenting our traditional research and screening processes with the power of artificial intelligence will help us identify and assess more molecules faster and with greater precision."
FMC will use Ligand Design™ and Ligand Express™, Cyclica's proprietary AI platforms, to optimize the discovery of novel compounds at a pace that far exceeds typical chemistry discovery research programs. Powered by MatchMaker™, a deep learning proteome screening technology, and POEM™, a machine learning technology for predicting molecular properties, Ligand Design™ and Ligand Express™ will assess millions of chemical structures, providing FMC researchers with a greater volume of high-quality molecule predictions that are specific to the pesticidal target of interest. A similar AI-augmented approach to discovery research has been used successfully for years in industries that require extensive data analysis, significant investments and lengthy development timelines, such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
"We are excited to partner with FMC scientists in their quest to innovate novel molecules that control pests and diseases in agriculture," says Naheed Kurji, cofounder, president and CEO of Cyclica. "Ligand Design™ and Ligand Express™ have been instrumental in the design and screening of new medicines, and we look forward to applying those learnings in support of FMC's global discovery research programs."
FMC's R&D team of more than 800 scientists and associates are guiding one of the most robust discovery and development pipelines in the agricultural industry at 22 innovation centers and field stations around the world. The company's global R&D is headquartered at the FMC Stine Research Center in Newark, Delaware, and its biologicals research is conducted at the FMC European Innovation Center in Hørsholm, Denmark.
Terms of the collaboration with Cyclica are not disclosed.