Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

London hospitals could share patient data with Google-backed AI startup

French-American start-up Owkin would be reportedly discussing with a number of London hospitals to trial its artificial intelligence system aimed at studying clinical data to help develop more effective drugs, according to the Telegraph.

The New-York based company uses a machine learning algorithm to identify biomarkers associated with cancer. They have recently helped to discover targets for drugs in a type of cancer called mesothelioma, but they believe this technology could have many more applications in healthcare

Owkin has so far raised overall funds for $18.1m, according to CrunchBase, with investments both by Google Alphabet and financial services firm Fidelity.

Talking to The Telegraph, Parker Moss, chief business officer at Owkin, said the company are “currently in advanced discussions with three large London academic medical centres” to strike a deal that would see it harness hospital data on patients.

“In those relationships,” he added, “we will be revenue sharing with the hospitals.”

“The important features of our relationship with all of our hospitals, including the NHS, is [that] we pay the hospitals, we don’t take money from them, and we never remove or even see any patient data so we totally protect patient privacy.”

According to data from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, annual investment into R&D will rise to $181bn by 2022, with investment growing at an average of 4 per cent per year.

However, the issue with this kind of investments is that the majority of them tends to go to waste as the success rate of drug trials is low.

“The big challenge in pharma is that only about 1 in 20 targets that they pick actually turns into a drug that goes to market,” Moss said.

“You normally spend about a minimum of $1bn trying to make a target work, so if only one in 20 works, that means they’re writing off $19bn out of $20bn R&D – predictive modelling can really help improve these odds.”

It has not yet been confirmed when or in what scale Owkin will collaborate with London’s hospitals. In the meantime, you can read more about the company’s work on their website here.

Image via Wikipedia and Needpix.

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