Imagine a mannequin of collaborative analysis and improvement amongst hospitals, pharmaceutical corporations, universities and different analysis establishments the place nobody shared any precise knowledge.
That’s the dream of the brand new New York-based startup Owkin, which has raised $25 million in contemporary financing from buyers together with Bpifrance Large Venture, Cathay Innovation and MACSF (the French Pension Fund for Clinicians), alongside earlier buyers GV, F-Prime Capital and Eight Roads.
The firm’s pitch is that knowledge scientists, scientific medical doctors, lecturers and pharmaceutical corporations can all log in to the digital lab that Owkin calls the Owkin Studio.
In that digital setting, all events can entry anonymized knowledge units and fashions completely to refine their very own analysis and improvement and research to make sure that essentially the most leading edge insights into novel biomarkers, mechanisms of motion and predictive fashions inform the work that all the related events are doing.
The final purpose, the corporate stated, is to enhance affected person outcomes.
In its quest to get extra corporations and establishments to open up and share info — with the promise that the data can’t be extracted or utilized in a method that isn’t allowed by the house owners of the info — Owkin is replicating work that different corporations are pursuing in fields starting from healthcare to monetary companies and past.
The Israeli firm Qedit has developed related applied sciences for the monetary companies business, and Sympatic, a latest graduate from one of many latest batches of Techstars corporations, is engaged on an analogous know-how for the healthcare business.
Owkin makes cash by enabling distant entry to the info units for pharmaceutical corporations and licensing the fashions developed by universities to these corporations. It’s a method for the corporate to entice researchers to affix the platform and supply one other income stream for analysis establishments who’ve seen their funding decline over the past forty years.
“We have an enormous loop of educational universities which have entry to the info and are creating algorithms and we share knowledge,” stated the corporate’s chief government Dr. Thomas Clozel. “At the top what it helps is creating higher medicine.”
The funding from Owkin’s new and current buyers takes the corporate to $55 million in complete capital raised by means of the extension of its Series A spherical. In all of the spherical totaled $52 million, Clozet stated.
“We are precisely the place we must be as a result of it’s about privateness and privateness is extra necessary than ever earlier than,” stated Clozet.
The COVID-19 epidemic has emphasised the necessity for nearer collaboration amongst totally different companies and analysis establishments, and that has additionally elevated demand for the corporate’s know-how. “It touches every little thing… We have entry to the best knowledge units and facilities to construct the most effective fashions for COVID,” stated Clozet. “We’re fortunate to have the best traction earlier than the COVID occurs and we have now the best analysis that has been achieved.”
In reality, the corporate has launched the Covid-19 Open AI Consortium (COAI), and is utilizing its platform to advance collaborative analysis and speed up scientific improvement of efficient remedies for sufferers contaminated with the coronavirus, the corporate stated. All of its findings might be shared with the worldwide medical and scientific communities.
The preliminary concentrate on the analysis is on cardiovascular problems in COVID-19 sufferers in collaboration with CAPACITY, a global registry working with over 50 facilities worldwide, the corporate stated. Other areas of analysis will embrace affected person outcomes and triage, and the prediction and characterization of immune response, in accordance with Owkin.
“Since we first backed Owkin in 2017, we have now been sharing its imaginative and prescient to use AI to combating one of the dreadful illnesses on earth: most cancers,” stated Jacky Abitbol, a accomplice at Cathay Innovation. “Owkin has risen to develop into a pacesetter in digital well being, we’re proud to develop our funding within the firm to gasoline its ambition to pioneer AI for medical analysis, whereas preserving patient-privacy and knowledge safety.”