National Institutes of Health Awards Innovation Research Grant to Numerate to Accelerate Discovery of Novel Antiarrhythmic Drug Candidates

Numerate and the UCLA Cardiovascular Research Laboratory will focus efforts on identifying therapy for the treatment and prevention of ventricular tachycardias and fibrillation (VT/VF)

San Bruno, CA – Numerate, Inc., a computational drug design company applying artificial intelligence (AI) at cloud scale to transform small molecule drug discovery, announced that the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Numerate a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant.  Numerate, working with members of the UCLA Cardiovascular Research Laboratory (CVRL), will use the funds to initiate a drug discovery program targeting cardiac arrhythmias.

The project targets the discovery of small molecule drug candidates that address the need for a novel well-tolerated antiarrhythmic therapy for the treatment and prevention of ventricular tachycardias and fibrillation (VT/VF). Uwe Klein, Ph.D., Vice President, Biology at Numerate, will lead the discovery efforts and serve as Principal Investigator for the project titled, “Peripherally restricted α2/δ-1 subunit ligands that modulate CaV channel gating as novel antiarrhythmic drugs.” The project is funded under Grant Number 1R43HL139143-01.

The co-investigators include esteemed members of the UCLA Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, including:

  • Hrayr S. Karagueuzian, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Director of Translational Arrhythmias Research Section
  • Riccardo Olcese, Ph.D., Professor of Anesthesiology and Physiology at UCLA, Division of Molecular Medicine

“We are pleased to receive this award from the NIH and thrilled to be working with Drs. Karagueuzian and Olcese at the CVRL to build upon their existing work and discover an important new medicine for treatment of life-threatening arrhythmias,” said Dr. Klein.

John Griffin, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Numerate, added, “Our AI-based drug discovery platform has the potential to accelerate the rapid discovery and development of novel small molecule therapeutics and we are looking forward to collaborating with these two renowned cardiac pathobiology experts”.

“The NHLBI funding will expand upon our innovative research to manage cardiac arrhythmias with novel small molecule drugs that specifically block the arrhythmogenic late inward calcium current without altering other cardiac ionic currents,” said Dr. Karagueuzian. “I look forward to working with the scientists at Numerate who have developed highly sophisticated approaches using data driven machine learning and cloud computing to discover and develop a new antiarrhythmic drug therapy.”

“It’s a very exciting time for the fight against cardiac arrhythmias as my laboratory, which uses the quantitative rigor of biophysics to understand aberrant cardiac excitability, will benefit greatly from the application of artificial intelligence that Numerate brings to the table,” said Dr. Riccardo Olcese. “Numerate is the ideal partner to complement my laboratory’s expertise and with the generous support from the NHLBI, we are ready to evaluate the capabilities of rationally designed next-generation antiarrhythmics.”

About Cardiac Arrhythmias

According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 4 million Americans, most over age 60, experience heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)[i]. Arrhythmias are caused by problems with the electrical system that regulates the steady heartbeat. The heart rate may be too slow or too fast; it may stay steady or become irregular and disorganized[ii]. The most serious and life-threatening arrhythmia is ventricular fibrillation (VF), which is an erratic disorganized firing of impulses in the lower chambers of the heart, called the ventricles. VF result in the heart being unable to pump blood, and is the most common cause of sudden cardiac death, claiming the lives of about 300,000 adults in the United States each year[iii].