Think about a mannequin of collaborative analysis and growth amongst hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, 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 recent financing from traders, together with Bpifrance Large Venture, Cathay Innovation and MACSF (the French Pension Fund for Clinicians), alongside earlier traders GV, F-Prime Capital and Eight Roads.
The corporate’s pitch is that knowledge scientists, scientific docs, teachers and pharmaceutical firms 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 solely to refine their very own analysis and growth and research to make sure that probably the most cutting-edge insights into novel biomarkers, mechanisms of motion and predictive fashions inform the work that the entire related events are doing.
The final word purpose, the corporate stated, is to enhance affected person outcomes.
In its quest to get extra firms and establishments to open up and share data — with the promise that the knowledge can’t be extracted or utilized in a approach that isn’t allowed by the homeowners of the information — Owkin is replicating work that different firms are pursuing in fields starting from healthcare to monetary companies and past.
The Israeli firm Qedit has developed comparable applied sciences for the monetary companies trade, and Sympatic, a latest graduate from one of many latest batches of Techstars firms, is engaged on an analogous know-how for the healthcare trade.
Owkin makes cash by enabling distant entry to the information units for pharmaceutical firms and licensing the fashions developed by universities to these firms. It’s a approach for the corporate to entice researchers to hitch the platform and supply one other income stream for analysis establishments who’ve seen their funding decline over the past 40 years.
“We’ve got an enormous loop of educational universities which have entry to the information and are growing algorithms and we share knowledge,” stated the corporate’s chief govt Dr. Thomas Clozel. “On the finish what it helps is growing higher medicine.”
The funding from Owkin’s new and present traders takes the corporate to $55 million in complete capital raised via the extension of its Collection A spherical. In all, the spherical totaled $52 million, Clozel stated.
“We’re precisely the place we should be as a result of it’s about privateness and privateness is extra vital than ever earlier than,” stated Clozel.
The COVID-19 epidemic has emphasised the necessity for nearer collaboration amongst completely different companies and analysis establishments, and that has additionally elevated demand for the corporate’s know-how. “It touches every thing… We’ve got entry to the appropriate knowledge units and facilities to construct one of the best fashions for COVID,” stated Clozel. “We’re fortunate to have the appropriate traction earlier than the COVID occurs and we’ve got the appropriate analysis that has been accomplished.”
The truth is, the corporate has launched the Covid-19 Open AI Consortium (COAI), and is utilizing its platform to advance collaborative analysis and speed up scientific growth of efficient therapies for sufferers contaminated with the coronavirus, the corporate stated. All of its findings shall be shared with the worldwide medical and scientific communities.
The preliminary give attention to 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. Different areas of analysis will embrace affected person outcomes and triage, and the prediction and characterization of immune response, in line with Owkin.
“Since we first backed Owkin in 2017, we’ve got been sharing its imaginative and prescient to use AI to combating one of the crucial dreadful illnesses on earth: most cancers,” stated Jacky Abitbol, a associate at Cathay Innovation. “Owkin has risen to turn out to be a pacesetter in digital well being, we’re proud to develop our funding within the firm to gas its ambition to pioneer AI for medical analysis, whereas preserving patient-privacy and knowledge safety.”