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Case Study The Synthetic Lethals platform

Accurately identifying and predicting synthetic lethal partnerships, to combat cancerous cells

AI-guided precision cancer therapy platform


Identifying new molecular targets for targeted therapeutics is a critical area of active investigation in oncology. As, cancerous and other mutated cells are often “undruggable,researchers continuously working to develop new treatments. Popular techniques such as cell line-based screens, have helped to save countless lives, however researchers still require a way to simplify the way to better understand cancer initiation or progression. 


Researchers at SRI International Biosciences developed a comprehensive AI based synthetic lethality discovery platform, known as Synthetic Lethals, that combines a proprietary computational tool with validation in preclinical models. The Synthetic Lethals platform uses primary tumor data rather than artificial models to expand the set of drug targets, accelerating the discovery of efficacious drugs needed to treat previously untreatable cancers.   

Although medical researchers have made significant strides in curing and even eliminating diseases over the past century, developing cancer treatments is still one of the most difficult challenges to be addressed. 

To help medical researchers treat cells that have “undruggable mutations” researchers at SRI Biosciences, who have decades of experience in the bioinformatics field, created the Synthetic Lethals platform. This AI based platform accomplishes the large-scale discovery of synthetic lethal partners by recognizing patterns in vast amounts of pan-cancer primary tumor genomic and transcriptomic data utilizing multiple different databases and offers the ability to incorporate additional datasets 

The platform integrates a novel computational approach that leverages AI to drug target discovery with cutting-edge pre-clinical validation to accelerate the discovery of new oncology drugs.  

The Synthetic Lethals platform has predicted synthetic lethal partners for a broad spectrum of cancer mutations, including loss-of-function mutations and gain-of-function mutations in multiple cancer types. To date, the AI platform-predicted synthetic lethal partners have been validated in in vivo tumor models for key recurrent mutations in acute myeloid leukemia, breast cancer, kidney cancer and lung cancer.  


Synthetic Lethals technology has a variety of applications in precision cancer therapy:  

  • Identify new drug targets to accelerate discovery of treatments for previously untreatable cancers  
  • Enable re-purposing of existing drugs for cancer treatment  
  • Facilitate identification of synergistic drug combinations 
  • Identify biomarkers to allow for precise use of targeted drugs 


Partnering Opportunities 

SRI Biosciences partners with commercial companies through research collaborations that lead to option and license agreements for further commercialization. Contact  to explore how SRI’s SL guided precision cancer therapy platform can optimize your oncology drug discovery program.  

September 2019

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