LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Relation Therapeutics, a leader in the use of high-resolution biology, machine learning and clinical insights to discover life-changing medicines, announced today the opening of their flagship integrated wet–dry laboratory. The laboratory and offices comprise 5,500 sq ft, located at the heart of London’s Knowledge Quarter, in close reach of collaborators and partners including globally renowned academic research centres and major pharma companies. Over the last year the company has grown to a 35-strong cross-disciplinary seed-stage company. The new space is another step forward in realising Relation’s ambition to establish a novel transformational approach to drug discovery.
The integrated wet–dry laboratory’s unique value for drug discovery comes from efficiently combining the most sophisticated functional genomic techniques with extraordinary computational power and machine learning. With the acquisition of genomic data from human cells, Relation obtains direct insights into critical biological relationships, which are then fed directly into the dry laboratory’s machine learning engine. The engine then automatically requests new experiments to improve its predictive ability, cutting through an otherwise undecipherable combinatorial space. This sequence of experiments is the essence of Relation’s Lab-in-the-Loop and by uniting these two technologies Relation aims to radically improve the probability of success of drug discovery and development.
“Deploying machine learning to understand such a vast array of interactions between genes, proteins and drugs holds extraordinary potential for discovering new drugs,” said Sir Paul Nurse, CEO of the Francis Crick Institute who alongside the executive team led the official opening. “It is pleasing to see Relation Therapeutics joining the Crick and other innovative bioscience enterprises in the Knowledge Quarter, further enhancing London’s already internationally distinguished bio ecosystem.”
Relation Therapeutics further announced the appointment of Dr. Edith M. Hessel, a former GSK R&D executive, as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). Dr. Hessel will lead the drug discovery direction of the company and the progression of its pipeline to the clinic. Dr. Hessel has successfully pioneered the development of novel target discovery platforms, advanced therapeutics from inception to clinical proof of concept, and has extensive experience in founding biotech companies. As a VP at GSK, Dr. Hessel built the Refractory Respiratory Inflammation Discovery Performance Unit, which added multiple novel targets to GSK’s pipeline.
“I am absolutely delighted to be part of Relation’s mission to transform drug discovery, probing unexplored molecular target spaces for potentially life-changing medicines,” said Edith Hessel. “Relation combines a world-class team with cutting-edge technology, including access to NVIDIA’s Cambridge-1, the UK’s most powerful super-computer. Utilising first-class computational capacity to explore experimental data, clinical insights and high-resolution biology will transform drug discovery as we know it, allowing us to develop better medicines for patients.”
In addition, Relation shared their vision for indication selection, which uses a proprietary machine learning engine – SelectomaticTM – to recommend those indications where Relation’s integrated platform enables the development of transformational therapeutics. Application of this engine led to the initiation of osteoporosis as the first disease that Relation will pursue. Osteoporosis, a metabolic bone disease, is characterised by low bone density and deterioration of bone architecture, increasing the risk of fractures.1 It is estimated that there are approximately ten million people with osteoporosis in the USA alone,1 with nearly one million considered to be patients at high risk of fractures. Furthermore, in Europe, 32 million people over 50 are estimated to have osteoporosis.2 Current treatment options have a number of limitations, including safety concerns, low uptake, and limited duration of efficacy.
“The use of single-cell profiling allows our scientists to understand bone biology with exquisite detail and provides us with the unique opportunity to be at the forefront of finding a next-generation therapy for osteoporosis,” said Dr. David Roblin, Chief Executive Officer. “This access to rich single-cell data perfectly enables the power of our machine learning engine in a disease of significant unmet need.”
In their mission to discover life-changing medicines, the team at Relation Therapeutics leverages their extensive experience in building successful biotechnology businesses. This includes Dr. Charlie Roberts, the Chairperson of Relation, who is the co-founder of Freenome, a San Francisco-based company that has raised over $1bn from investors including Roche and Novartis. In June 2022, DCVC and Magnetic Ventures co-led a $25-million round of seed financing, with participation from Khosla Ventures, OMERS Ventures, and Firstminute Capital, among others.
To learn more about Relation Therapeutics, please visit: https://www.relationrx.com/.
Relation is a biotechnology company focused on leveraging computational and experimental techniques to understand biology better. Central to Relation’s approach is its integrated wet–dry laboratory which leverages human genetics, single-cell profiling and machine learning to generate new insights with real translational validity. The company is located in London.
- Wright N, Looker A, Saag K, et al. The recent prevalence of osteoporosis and low bone mass in the United States based on bone mineral density at the femoral neck or lumbar spine. J Bone Miner Res. 2014;29(11):2520–2526.
- Kanis JA, et al., SCOPE 2021: a New Scorecard for Osteoporosis in Europe, Arch Osteoporos, 2021, 16(1):82.