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Oxford, UK - Researchers at British biotech company Etcembly have successfully used ChatGPT-inspired generative AI to design a new immunotherapy drug for cancer. This is the first time such technology has been used in this way.

Known as a bispecific T cell engager, the drug is based on naturally-occurring molecules known as T cell receptors (TCRs) that bring immune ‘killer’ T cells into contact with cancer cells to destroy them. However, natural TCRs have low affinity for cancer cells, and can also recognise targets on healthy cells. Significant molecular engineering is therefore needed to create TCRs with sufficient sensitivity and selectivity to be used as drugs.

At the heart of the discovery is EMLy™ – a sophisticated supercomputer that uses cutting-edge machine learning algorithms to scan through huge datasets to learn the ‘language’ of TCRs and find the best receptor for a given target.

A generative large language model (LLM)...

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