Iktos and Bayer Announce Collaboration to expand the use of Artificial Intelligence to Design New Sustainable Crop Protection Solutions

Iktos and Bayer Announce Collaboration to expand the use of Artificial Intelligence to Design New Sustainable Crop Protection Solutions

Paris, France, December 14, 2023 – Iktos, a company specialized in Artificial Intelligence (AI) for new drug design, and Bayer’s Crop Science division with its industry-leading R&D pipeline and portfolio of seeds & traits, crop protection and digital farming solutions, today announced a collaboration to expand the use of AI in the discovery and development of new sustainable crop protection products.  

Iktos’s de novo generative design software Makya™ will be deployed by Bayer scientists 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 brings new insights and directions into the molecular discovery process based on a comprehensive data-driven chemical structure generation technology. It also allows scientists to analyse billions of molecules in a virtual environment, enabling the exploration of new and larger chemical spaces than previously possible. The Makya™ Software as a Service (SaaS) platform enables researchers to benefit from the technology thanks to its user-friendly interface and a secure and scalable technical implementation in the cloud.

This approach to innovation, validated through multiple collaborations in pharmaceutical research and development, is now being used for the first time to help solve a key challenge in crop protection discovery: the rapid and efficient identification and optimization of successful and safe molecules and holds great potential to support Bayer’s sustainability objective to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, via lower application rates and favourable safety profiles of its solutions.

Iktos-Bayer collaboration signed at Bayer's LifeHub Lyon research center

“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.”

“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", said Yann Gaston-Mathé, Co-founder and CEO of Iktos. "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.”
About Iktos
Incorporated in October 2016, Iktos is a French start-up company specialized in the development of artificial intelligence solutions applied to chemical research, more specifically medicinal chemistry and new drug design. Iktos is developing a proprietary and innovative solution based on deep learning generative models, which enables, using existing data, to design molecules that are optimized in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. The use of Iktos technology enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos is also developing Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based upon Iktos’s proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis.

More information on: http://www.iktos.ai/

About Bayer
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to help people and the planet thrive, by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to driving sustainable development and generating a positive impact with its businesses. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2022, the Group employed around 101,000 people and had sales of 50.7 billion euros. R&D expenses before special items amounted to 6.2 billion euros.

More information on: www.bayer.com

Press contacts

Bayer : Virginie CHEVALLER - virginie.chevallier@bayer.com / 06 45 70 32 58

Iktos : Yann Gaston-Mathé (CEO) – contact@iktos.com

Pierre-Louis Germain – plgermain@ulysse-communication.com / + 33 6 64 79 97 51

Nicolas Daniels / ndaniels@ulysse-communication.com / + 33 6 63 66 59 22