ALS patients might have a new drug to look forward to as early as next year, if British company, Benevolent AI, keeps its promises. According to Healthcare Weekly, the company received $115 million in spring 2018, to support continued research that is supposed to decipher the molecular processes of disease and match drug treatments with the most appropriate patients.
Ken Mulvany, Founder and Chairman of BenevolentAI, thinks their AI solution is going to have a tremendous impact on the pharma industry as a whole.
In the last couple of weeks we have seen multiple AI solutions receive significant amount of funding from private investors. This includes: K Health (leveraging AI to help patients self-diagnose their medical conditions), Verge Genomics (which uses AI to speed up the drug discovery process) and Hu-manity (which uses AI to help users sell their medical data).
Codrin Arsene runs Digital Authority Partners, a Chicago-based consulting company working with some of the most prominent startups and established companies in the healthcare innovation space on creating new powerful digital experiences with a long-lasting impact. According to Arsene:
“There has never been a more exciting time in the history of healthcare. Artificial Intelligence is profoundly redefining big pharma from within and from outside of the industry. What we’re seeing in the marketplace today is revolutionary and BenevolentAI is just the tip of the iceberg. Digital Transformation in Healthcare is here to stay. And we should reasonably expect billions and billions of dollars to be committed to new innovations in the pharma industry over the next couple of years.”
Arsene’s assessment is very much in line with BenevolentAI’s ambitious goals. BenevolentAI already has more than 20 drug programs, and wants to direct its innovative forces towards other challenging, but less complex areas, such as advanced materials, agriculture and energy storage.
BenevolentAI is presently researching new therapies for ALS. Next year might even bring a drug clinical trial, using a brand new molecule.
The way Benevolent AI wants to do this is by breaking barriers to innovation and challenging the traditional pharmaceutical industry to see things their way. “Whilst AI does not present a replacement to the researchers behind the drug discovery process, it aims to build upon and take full advantage of the vast of knowledge they have gathered”, Ken Mulvany says.
Hugo Ceulemans, Scientific Director of Discovery Data Science at Janssen Pharmaceuticals, supports AI. He believes it will never replace human scientists, but allow them to focus on innovation, while it does the boring, mind-numbing part of the research.
As for the rest of us, we cannot but hope results will be visible by next year where Benevolent AI is concerned.
Recently, Healthcare Weekly included BenevolentAI on their list of best healthcare startups to watch for in 2018.