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WuXi NextCode, Rhythm Pharmaceuticals Partner Around Rare Metabolic Syndromes

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – WuXi NextCode said today that it has formed a partnership with Rhythm Pharmaceuticals under which Rhythm is applying WuXi's proprietary deep learning capabilities to identify key genetic markers for rare metabolic syndromes.

The pharma company is hoping to optimize its development of therapies for the treatment of rare genetic disorders of obesity using WuXi's technology. The two companies have already launched the project's first phase, which involved mining WuXi's knowledgebase to identify rare sequence variants in the POMC, PCSK1, and LEPR genes — part of the appetite and weight regulation-associated MC4R pathway.

WuXi then applied its proprietary DeepCode algorithm to score the discovered variants for their predictive impact on obesity. The highest impact markers may be useful for identifying subjects more likely to respond to drugs that target MC4R, the company said.

"We are also very excited to take the next steps in this partnership, and are applying the breadth of our capabilities, from large-scale cohort validation to functional assays, to help advance Rhythm's clinical development programs," WuXi CEO Hannes Smarason said in a statement.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.