Healx, a Cambridge-based medtech company that uses AI to discover and develop treatments for rare diseases, has announced a $10 million Series A funding round. The investment was led by Balderton Capital, with participation from existing investors Jonathan Milner and Amadeus Capital.
Rare diseases affect 350 million people worldwide - or 1 in 20 people on the planet. Yet, 95% of rare diseases still do not have an approved treatment.
Healx aims to combine AI with pharmacological expertise and patient engagement to discover new drugs and give sufferers of rare diseases a better quality of life.
The startups platform, Healnet, maps over one billion unique disease, patient and drug interactions. It was built using machine learning methods applied to a wide range of data types from both publicly available and exclusive sources, facilitating a faster drug discovery process.
“What is exciting about Healx is the enormous potential of HealNet," commented Dr. Matt Might, professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Alabama. "While other companies have built one-off AI systems to analyse a smaller number of fixed datasets as part of a broader drug discovery process, Healx is building a long-term platform that is capable of incorporating data from every conceivable source and using that to build an overall understanding of patients, diseases and drugs. The company has already shown the fruits of this asset for a number of diseases and this next round of funding will allow them to apply it to a significantly larger number of diseases.”
The investment will be used to expand Healx’s team of software engineers, data scientists, pharmacologists and drug development experts, and to further develop its artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.
"Historically, the pharmaceutical industry has focused on what is the same about everyone, building blockbuster drugs that affect large groups of people," added Suranga Chandratillake, partner at Balderton Capital. “The future of medicine will focus on what is different about everyone, personalising treatment and taking the individual into context. Healx's HealNet platform, at the forefront of this shift, is already delivering value and Balderton is excited to have the opportunity to be part of the company’s journey.”