Imagine a model of joint research and development between hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, universities, and other scientific organizations where no-one exchanged any real details.
That’s the vision of the New York-based startup Owkin, which has secured $25 million in fresh investment from investors, including Bpifrance Big Company, Cathay Innovation, and MACSF (the French Clinicians’ Pension Fund), alongside previous investors GV, F-Prime Capital and Eight Paths.
The business argues that computer analysts, health physicians, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies will all sign in to the interactive facility Owkin calls the Owkin Lab.
In this simulated world, both stakeholders can use open data sets and models primarily to optimize their analysis and advancement and studies to ensure that the latest cutting-edge perspectives into emerging biomarkers, intervention mechanisms, and statistical models guide the work being conducted by all interested parties. The ultimate goal is to improve the patient outcomes, the company said.
In the search to persuade more businesses and organizations to open up and exchange knowledge — with the guarantee that data cannot be accessed or exploited in a way that is not allowed by data owners —Owkin replicates research done by other organizations in areas ranging from hospitals to financial management and beyond.
Qedit, an Israeli firm, has developed similar innovations for the financial services industry and Sympatic, a recent graduate from one of Techstars’ latest batches, is focusing on a related technology for the healthcare field.
Owkin is making money by providing direct access to the pharmaceutical firms’ data sets and converting those businesses to the models established by universities. It’s a way for the company to entice researchers to join the platform and provide another revenue stream for research institutions that have seen their funding decline over the last 40 years.
“We have a colossal circle of universities that have admittance to the data and are developing algorithms and allocating data,” said Dr. Thomas Clozel, the company’s chief executive. The investment from the new and existing investors of Owkin takes the company to $55 million in total capital raised by extending its Series A round. In total, $52 million was in the ring, Clozel said. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the need for greater cooperation between different companies and academic organizations, and this has also increased competition for technologies from the organization.
The company has launched the Covid-19 Open AI Consortium (COAI) and is using its platform to advance collaborative research and accelerate the clinical development of effective treatments for coronavirus-infected patients, the company said.