Excelra and IIT-Kharagpur Form Strategic Partnership to Advance Drug Repurposing Using NLP and Machine Learning Approaches

Hyderabad & Kharagpur, India, 16th May 2018: Excelra Knowledge Solutions (http://www.excelra.com), a leading global bio-informatics Company and IIT-Kharagpur, announce a multi-year collaboration aimed at accelerating research in Drug Repurposing. The alliance will leverage diverse skill-sets and domain expertise of the two partners and integrate Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) technology in Excelra’s Drug Repurposing engine.

With mounting costs involved in drug development, Drug Repurposing is seen as a rapidly evolving field aimed at identifying new therapeutic uses of pre-existing or failed drugs. Excelra’s proprietary Global Repurposing Integrated platform (GRIP) is driven by a rich proprietary database combining over 40 public data sources with in-house developed curated databases and various algorithms. The team of scientists from Excelra and IIT-Kharagpur will use publicly available ontologies and Excelra databases with Drug-Disease-Target relationships for training NLP and ML algorithms. These algorithms will be instrumental in extracting biologically relevant information from different data sources and building a scientific rationale for a novel therapeutic potential of a drug.

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“We are thrilled to partner with a prestigious institution like IIT-Kharagpur reputed for its talent pool. The technical prowess at IIT-Kharagpur and the pharma analytics expertise at Excelra will give a tremendous boost to Drug Repurposing. This is an innovative approach that will accelerate research and enhance the opportunity to promote drug discovery and development,” said Dr. Nandu Gattu, Vice President, Pharma Analytics, Excelra.

“Academia-industry collaborations are becoming increasingly important for dissipation of knowledge and promotion of entrepreneurship. NLP and ML are being used extensively for text analytics to understand contextual inference of the extracted information. We are glad to partner with Excelra in the pursuit of bringing more drugs into the market by significantly cutting down development costs and time,” said Prof. Sudeshna Sarkar, Head, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kharagpur and PI of the Project.

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