COVID-19 News

ORNL partners with AI company to enhance COVID-19 therapeutic research

BERG, a clinical-stage biotech company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to research diseases and develop innovative treatments, today announced an agreement to tap the revolutionary Summit supercomputer at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for rapid drug discovery research in the fight against COVID-19.

"ORNL's Summit supercomputer presents unprecedented capabilities to address some of the most pressing challenges in science. The system's unmatched speed offers critical potential in conducting research rapidly to match the demands of the outbreak," said Dr. Niven R. Narain, BERG's President and Chief Executive Officer for BERG, which is based in Framingham, Massachusetts.

The joint effort will focus BERG's AI capabilities on comprehensive therapeutic research that can lead to a quicker path to treatments for COVID-19, Narain said.

"Our hope is that this agreement will lay a strong foundation to tackle the virus," said Jeremy Smith, Governor's Chair at the University of Tennessee and Director of the UT/ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics. "This is exactly the kind of extraordinary situation the Summit system was designed for."

Smith's research on Summit uses computational simulations to analyze drug compounds that could prevent host cell infection. The partnership with BERG will extend this effort by combining BERG's human derived disease model for rapid identification of targets with ORNL's drug development research to identify the best-ranked treatment candidates. This collaboration provides BERG access to Summit, the world's most powerful supercomputer, and allows BERG to leverage its Interrogative Biology® platform to assist in conducting research that identifies high priority targets where drug treatment could be introduced to treat COVID-19 infections.

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