AI set to help West Virginia, private sector research new, more effective drugs

15 March 2024- Gov. Jim Justice announced today that West Virginia is partnering with GATC West Virginia, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of GATC Health, to initiate a groundbreaking program using GATC’s artificial intelligence (AI) platform to accelerate the discovery of safer and more effective drugs.

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority and West Virginia Jobs Investment Trust board of directors approved a $5 million strategic investment into GATC that will expand GATC’s state-of-the-art research and development lab in the West Virginia University Innovation Center, positioning the state to be at the forefront of advanced pharmaceutical research using GATC’s transformative AI technology.

The investment will support GATC hiring dozens of employees in their Morgantown, WV lab and enable the completion of FDA application efforts for GATC’s innovative drug candidate for treating opioid use disorder (OUD) which has affected so many families in West Virginia and the Appalachians.

“West Virginia is leading the way in revolutionizing the pharmaceutical industry and making a huge difference in medicine discovery,” Gov. Justice said. “This initiative places West Virginia on the map as a leader of innovation as we bring cutting-edge technology right to our backyard to find effective medicines. Our partnership with GATC is proof of our state’s investment in setting the standard for medical advancements while demonstrating the limitless potential of what we’re capable of in West Virginia.”

The partnership between West Virginia and GATC highlights the state’s dedication to supporting cutting-edge research and development (R&D) in critical areas such as healthcare and biotechnology. GATC announced April 5, 2023, it was one of the first tenants in the West Virginia University Innovation building, owned by WVU Medicine, to build an AI-driven R&D hub to expand existing drug discovery projects and accelerate pharma development services. In the previous two years, GATC has discovered seven new therapeutics to treat neurological disorders, metabolic disorders, cancer, and other diseases.

“As both a physician and an elected official, I understand the dual benefits that the GATC initiative will bring to West Virginia, encompassing both improved health and enhanced economic opportunities”, stated Senator Tom Takubo, who serves as the Senate Majority Leader and Executive Vice President of Provider Relations for West Virginia University Health System. “The establishment of a proven AI-enabled R&D program to discover more effective and safer drugs within our state, specifically tailored to treat the health challenges faced by Appalachians, serves as a new model for drug development.”

GATC recently announced the successful outcome of pre-clinical animal studies for the company’s OUD drug candidate at the University of California, Irvine’s Neurobiology and Behavior School of Biological Sciences. GATC’s OUD drug candidate is non-opioid and non-habit forming and repairs areas of the brain that are modified or damaged by addiction. GATC‘s therapeutic gently rewires the brain’s emotional reward circuits, treating addiction without targeting opioid receptors, to restore the patient’s brain back to a normal state and support short and long-term recovery. The experiments were conducted on rats addicted to fentanyl and proved that GATC ’s Multiomics Advanced Technology™ (MAT) platform can successfully predict the outcomes of pre-clinical laboratory experiments for efficacy, safety, and off-target effects.

GATC’s MAT platform uses proprietary AI and machine learning to simulate complex human physiology and accurately predict the efficacy, safety, and off-target (side effects) of a novel pharmaceutical asset to any specific disease, significantly increasing the likelihood of clinical trial success.  In just two years, GATC’s MAT platform has discovered and tested seven drug candidates with the capacity to create 10 to 12 novel molecules each year.

The recent study with University of California, Irvine demonstrated GATC’s AI platform reduced time and costs of preclinical trials to 18 months and approximately $2 million vs typical 4-6 years and over $300 million. An outside university study recently demonstrated that GATC’s MAT platform successfully predicted the positive human outcome of a drug compound with an unprecedented 86 – 91% accuracy rate which is approximately 11x better than the current industry lead optimization success rates.  MAT can analyze 400 trillion genetic data points in about seven minutes and provide detailed individual risk predictions for 32 disease categories. 

“GATC Health is excited to collaborate with West Virginia to launch a program that teams up state government, research institutions and advanced AI technology to bring safer and more effective drugs to market faster than ever before,” said Tyrone Lam, GATC’s Chief Operating Officer. “By combining our expertise in AI-driven drug discovery with the state’s commitment to innovation, we aim to make significant strides in new treatments for diseases to bring hope and health to West Virginians and our country.”