June 6, 2024
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LLNL and BridgeBio announce trials for supercomputing-discovered cancer drug

Jeremy Thomas/LLNL

In a substantial milestone for supercomputing-aided drug design, LLNL and BridgeBio Oncology Therapeutics (BridgeBio) today announced clinical trials have begun for a first-in-class medication that targets specific genetic mutations implicated in many types of cancer. The development of the new drug—BBO-8520—is the result of collaboration among LLNL, BridgeBio and the National Cancer Institute (NCI)’s RAS Initiative at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNL). In a first for a Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory, the drug was discovered through DOE’s leadership in high performance computing (HPC) for mission applications, combined with an LLNL-developed platform integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and traditional physics-based drug discovery, and effective partnership with the FNL and NCI. The drug candidate has shown promise in laboratory testing for inhibiting mutations of KRAS proteins linked to about 30% of all cancers — targets long considered “undruggable” by cancer researchers. The achievement provides hope for broad impact on cancer patients whose tumors harbor susceptible KRAS mutations. This indicates that a computational/AI drug design approach could unlock new insights into the disease and the future of cancer treatment. In addition to advancing cancer research, LLNL representatives said the milestone is validation that integrating supercomputing with AI- and physics-based computational platforms has the potential to further accelerate small-molecule drug discovery and equip DOE, the National Nuclear Security Administration and LLNL with the ability to quickly and routinely develop medical countermeasures for disease or future pandemics, aligning with broader mission focus areas in biosecurity, bio-resilience and national security. Read more at LLNL News.