Owkin, Connecting The Dots Via Next-Generation ML

James Dargan

Merging Two

As most developed countries move out (slowly) from the COVID-19 pandemic with adult vaccination uptake at very high percentage figures, one of the most important lessons learned from it comes in the areas of improving future drug development and patient outcomes.

Only too aware that collaboration in clinical research is now of prime importance, a startup has become a leader in merging two of deep tech’s most interesting and disruptive disciplines, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), to improve outcomes in the healthcare industry.

Founded in 2016 by Gilles Wainrib and Thomas Clozel, French-American startup Owkin has come up with a solution for the “traditional medical research paradigm by turning a previously siloed, disjointed system into an innovative and collaborative one that, above all, puts the privacy of patients first.”

Owkin

And with more than $70 million in capital raised from leading VC funds, Owkin is collaborating with some world-renowned cancer centres and pharmaceutical companies in Europe and the US through its decentralized ML and AI platform that combines its expertise in biology and ML to improve upon current standards in precision medicine.

Owkin is doing this by developing next-generation ML models that are:

• Trained on high-quality data

• Powered by Federated Learning

• Interpretable by design

• Fuelled by precision medicine

With these four pillars, along with leveraging its network of partner research centres, curated data sets, data scientists, clinicians, academic researchers, and pharmaceutical companies to meet specific pharma needs to accelerate and optimize drug development, Owkin is reshaping research in healthcare.

“We are changing the world of medical research by breaking down silos and augmenting research capabilities at scale. Numerous discoveries of new multimodal biomarkers and disease mechanisms are changing how pharmaceutical companies approach drug development and how clinicians design treatment plans for patients.”

 — Thomas Clozel, Co-founder & CEO, Owkin

Leading the startup from the beginning is the two-person founding team of CEO Thomas Clozel MD and CSO Gilles Wainrib.

Clozel, a clinical research doctor and former assistant professor in clinical hematology, is focused on integrating AI and system biology to enable breakthroughs in medicine.

A pioneer in the field of AI in biology, Wainrib’s expertise is in numerous areas from multimodal data (clinical, biological, molecular, genomics, radiology, digital pathology), precision medicine, biomarkers, patient identification, diagnostics, biostatistics, counterfactual modelling to drug repurposing.

He obtained a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary research between mathematics and biology from the Ecole Polytechnique.

With the obvious team, financial resources and partners in place, Owker’s AI for biomedical research platform is, in Clozel’s words, “[…] connecting the dots between raw medical data and patient outcomes, to unveil breakthrough R&D insights from a global hospital network that result in better treatments for patients, developed more quickly and at a lower cost.”

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