By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are transforming the healthcare industry, helping improve outcomes and changing the way providers think about delivering care. As Forbes notes, machine learning capabilities are helping improve diagnostics and predict outcomes, leading to better treatment plans and better attuned personalized care.
As part of the healthcare machine learning revolution, British healthcare company Healx has secured £1.5 million in Series A round investment from Amadeus Capital Partners in order to apply machine learning and advanced analytics to the battle against rare diseases. The funding will be used to identify new uses for existing drugs and improve treatment plans for rare diseases afflicting some 350 million people worldwide, according to Tech City News.
Hermann Hauser, Partner and co-Founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, said, “Healx has taken advances in machine learning, data mining, and analytics and combined them with deep pharma and life sciences expertise to address a growing need in the healthcare sector. With huge pressure on R&D budgets, drug repositioning will be essential in the fight against rare diseases. With this investment, Healx will take up a leadership position in the drug repurposing sector, expected to be worth over $31 billion by 2020.”
The orphan drug market for medications designed to treat a specific rare is forecast to reach $178 billion in 2020, but since just a small proportion of the population is affected by a particular rare disease, the justification for investing large sums in clinical trials remains a barrier to innovation.
Tim Guilliams, Chief Executive, Healx, said, “Studies into rare medical conditions have long failed to receive adequate funding. By repurposing existing drugs to combat rare diseases, Healx is able to find potential treatments at a fraction of the cost and in a much shorter timeframe than developing a new drug. With this investment, Healx will have the resources to expand our technology platform and accelerate our drug review process to find treatments to many more devastating illnesses.”
AI and machine learning have a number of other applications for healthcare as well, and industry analyst IDC predicted 30 percent of all healthcare providers will be applying cognitive analytics to patient data by 2018, according to Forbes. This has significant applications for healthcare in diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care.
In the field of imaging and diagnostics, CBI Insights has identified 22 companies developing new programs for healthcare, using deep learning algorithms and analytics to recognize patterns to help improve accuracy of diagnosis. And IBM’s Watson is helping oncologists determine the right course of care for their patients, with The Care Trio team creating a three-pronged approach that aids doctors in creating and understanding the best care protocols for their cancer patients, Forbes reported. The goal is that the Care Trio will improve clinical outcomes and increase survival rates while reducing cancer treatment costs for providers.