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10 August, 2021 - 21:52 By Tony Quested

Healx launches AI-powered project with Japanese partner

Healx in Cambridge has unveiled an exciting partnership with Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., one of Japan’s largest pharmaceutical companies and a global leader in the field of R & D-orientated drug discovery. 

The collaboration will leverage Healx’s innovative indication expansion technology to identify new disease indications with high unmet needs that could be treated by Ono’s proprietary assets.

Healx is an AI-powered, patient-inspired technology company pioneering the next generation of drug discovery and development and has built a suite of frontier technologies to rapidly identify and progress new therapies for some of the 95 per cent of rare diseases currently without an approved treatment. 

At the core of Healx’s technological capabilities is its AI drug discovery platform, Healnet. This integrates data from multiple sources – including biomedical research, patient insight, scientific literature and curated proprietary information – to form the world’s most detailed rare disease biomedical knowledge graph. 

This graph is analysed by Healx’s cutting-edge AI methods to pinpoint non-obvious disease-compound relationships with the highest probability of success. Critically, these models are trained to discover novel disease biology and modes of action, without being limited to a single biological target. 

Healx will deploy Healnet to find multiple new therapeutic indications for Ono’s proprietary assets. It will also utilise its considerable drug discovery and development expertise to provide Ono with a clear rationale for the predictions as well as a roadmap for preclinical validation of the assets. 

Ono will then select diseases from Healx’s therapeutic recommendations and progress them towards further validation studies.

This research collaboration will expand the precision medicine and drug discovery capabilities of Healx by increasing Healnet’s coverage of common disease signatures and enhancing the power and reach of its treatment predictions for conditions with high unmet medical needs. 

Beyond this partnership with Ono, Healx will continue to apply this cutting-edge technology to further expand its own portfolio, extend the number of rare diseases it can work on and scale the number of rare disease patients it can positively impact across the globe. 

Healx is also open to working with other pharmaceutical companies to expand the impact of their own pipeline assets, especially in the rare disease space. Interested parties can learn more about Healx’s collaboration opportunities here. 

Ono Pharmaceutical executive Toichi Takino, said: “We extremely appreciate Healnet for discovering new therapies that meet unmet medical needs in rare diseases.

“By combining the profiling data of new drug candidates and Healx’s AI technology we expect to increase the efficiency of finding clinical indications with high prediction accuracy and identifying new drug candidates.”

Healx CEO, Dr Tim Guilliams, added: “It is a great privilege to work with a renowned drug discovery company like Ono – especially as they share our mission to bring new, effective treatments to patients in need.

“We are excited to deploy our technology to expand the number of diseases Ono’s assets can impact and, ultimately, provide novel treatments to patients around the world.

“We strongly believe in the power of our next-generation AI platform to deliver disease indication predictions with unprecedented speed, scale and accuracy, and we look forward to having more to share in the coming months.”

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