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Mayo Clinic, nference launch startup company for drug development

PBR Staff Writer Published 17 July 2017

Mayo Clinic and nference have jointly formed a new startup to discover and develop therapies for diseases with unmet medical need using artificial intelligence (AI).

The company, dubbed Qrativ, will leverage on the medical expertise and clinical data of Mayo Clinic’s and on the AI-driven knowledge synthesis platform of nference.

Initially, Qrativ will focus on rare diseases and highly targeted patient populations.

Mayo Clinic and nference say that unlike in the past, drug repurposing done systematically in the early drug development stages could identify and bring new treatments faster for diseases with unmet medical need.

Qrativ and nference co-founder and CEO Murali Aravamudan said: “Our core technology based on a neural network ensemble identifies nascent drug-disease, drug-gene and other therapeutically-relevant associations from the vast biomedical literature.

“The spatio-temporal signals are triangulated with real-world phenotypic and molecular evidence amassed from systemic and longitudinal patient care, which we believe can significantly accelerate drug discovery and development.”

Qrativ will leverage on its drug purposing platform, Darwin.ai to identify all potential uses of a drug candidate. This includes understanding potential rare disease indications for the drug candidate and exploring subsets of patients who are likely to respond favorably to it.

Qrativ co-founder and chief medical officer Andrew Badley said: “By taking into account genomic predictors of both desired treatment response and unwanted toxicity, Qrativ will be able to identify potential drug candidates more swiftly.

“This will enable us to use nference’s big data capabilities to define highly targeted patient populations and then leverage the deep clinical expertise of Mayo clinicians to design and implement optimal proof of concept trials to meet the unmet needs of our patients.”

Qrativ has raised $8.3m so far through a series A financing round that had the support of Matrix Capital Management, Matrix Partners and Mayo Clinic.