How Phare Bio is developing new antibiotics using AI


Lighthouse Bio uses AI and deep learning to combat the world’s most pressing medical threats through the development of antibiotics.

In collaboration with the Collins Lab at MIT, Phare Bio was selected as a bold project in 2020 because of its bold vision to chart a new era of antibiotics: its bold goal is to develop seven new antibiotics in seven years.

The bold project, hosted at TED, was brought to life through the collaboration of some of the most respected names in the nonprofit world, including Skoll, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Scott Cook & Signe Ostby and many more. Virgin Unite is proud to be one of the partners supporting amazing organizations like Phare Bio.

The development of new antibiotics is considered fundamental to human survival and as the world witnesses an unprecedented increase in antibiotic resistant bacteria, Phare Bio’s mission is more vital than ever. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, someone in the United States contracts a drug-resistant infection every 11 seconds – and every 15 minutes, someone dies from it. The misuse and overuse of antibiotics in the treatment of humans and in the breeding of livestock and plants has allowed antibiotic resistance to thrive.

The relentless evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria, combined with the lack of antibiotic discovery (only two new classes of antibiotics have reached the market since 1962) has resulted in what is known as an antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis. , and by 2050 it is predicted that AMR could lead to 10 million deaths per year (more than is currently caused by any cancer).

Phare Bio focuses on early preclinical research, powered by AI. AI helps reduce preclinical development time by years as it focuses on the most potent molecules and analyzes existing drugs for alternative uses. This reduction in development time is particularly beneficial because it allows the generation of commercial partnerships at an early stage.

Here is a shining example…

Halicin was a drug mainly used for the treatment of diabetes. Using AI, the Collins Lab and Phare Bio were able to uncover additional benefits of halicin – one being its ability to destroy resistant strains of E. coli and other bacteria, and another its extraordinary potential as an anti-diarrheal drug. With these findings, Phare Bio is rapidly advancing Halicin into preclinical testing and evaluating its potential for clinical trials.

Diarrhea-based findings also have enormous potential to do good, as diarrhea is the most common reason for evacuation of deployed military personnel and has a major impact on military operations. Thanks to the discovery of AI, Phare Bio has applied for research funding from the US Department of Defense and plans to use this momentum to ensure that therapies reach the patients who need them most.

The Bold Project is about investing in bold ideas like this. Each year, The Audacious Project selects up to five ideas with the potential to change the world. Visit The bold project to know more.


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