Our Approach

Anima’s mRNA Lightning platform combines high scale phenotypic screening that discovers mRNA biology modulators with MOAi technology that uses AI to elucidate their mechanisms of action.

Our platform is based on a unique approach. Our proprietary, high-scale automated phenotypic screening system has been developed from the ground up around our unique expertise in mRNA biology. Our approach is unbiased and works in diseased cells expressing the gene of interest. This enables us to discover small molecules that work at different levels of the mRNA life cycle - from transcription to translation.

Each screening generates multiple chemistries that achieve mRNA biology modulation in different ways through a range of mechanisms of action. This brings a tremendous advantage to our platform as after the initial screen, the different chemistries provide us with “multiple shots on goal”, enabling us to de-risk our projects.

The elucidation of the mechanism of action of compounds discovered as active by phenotypic screening methods has remained for decades as one of the biggest challenges in the industry. The screening yields millions of image-based profiles without providing any understanding of what they really mean. The compounds may be actively controlling a desired phenotype but no one can tell how they actually work. Progressing and optimizing these compounds without such understanding is very hard and these projects have high failure rates.

This is where the second component of our platform comes in and for the first time ever, integrates AI driven MOA elucidation to tackle this huge challenge.

Anima’s MOAi technology acts as a “Compass” to quickly understand how the discovered compounds work, and highlight their molecular targets. It allows us to de-risk projects from the onset of the discovery stage by exploring multiple mRNA modulation options provided by our different chemistries.

MOAi was developed and trained by our in-house mRNA experts using our huge database of mRNA biology imaging data to integrate functions such as MOA recognition and Machine Learning (ML) guided MOA assays.

The idea behind the MOA recognition function is somewhat similar to how facial recognition software works. If a compound is acting through a given MOA, the captured images may be similar to other compounds’ images with the same MOA. MOAi works to identify patterns in the data, matching them to previously observed MOAs. This is not a final determination of the MOA but it provides a good idea of where to look next.

The data input we get from the MOA recognition analysis is then integrated by Anima’s Compass MOAi in its Machine Learning (ML) guided MOA assays function that suggests dozens of experiments based on our proprietary MOA assays. The system analyzes the results of experiments and using our knowledge graph that was built around mRNA biology pathways, points us to the next experiment to run. As experiments are executed, results are integrated into the system and the algorithm iteratively determines the best path for experiments to be performed next, “navigating in mRNA biology” until the mechanism of action is revealed and final confirmatory experiments are then done on the proposed molecular target.

By combining the mRNA biology target space opportunity with the power of AI, we have been able to elucidate the MOA of six different molecules in less than 12 months, discovering and validating many novel targets involved in mRNA biology regulation. With Anima’s mRNA Lightning platform, we can advance the science of mRNA biology while finding novel therapeutics for previously “undruggable” diseases.