Healx: Finding Treatments for Rare Diseases with AI
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Healx: Finding Treatments for Rare Diseases with AI

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Dr. Tim Guilliams, CEO & Co-founder, HealxDr. Tim Guilliams, CEO & Co-founder
The field of rare disease treatment requires maximum attention at this point with 7,000 rare diseases affecting 350 million people worldwide, and 95 percent of the diseases still lack an approved treatment. Using traditional methods of drug discovery, it would take hundreds of years to find treatments for these rare disease patients. Turning the tables is Healx that provides an advanced AI platform, Healnet to find treatments for rare diseases, more quickly, cheaply and efficiently than conventional drug discovery methods. By focusing on approved drugs, harnessing the power of AI and adopting a massively parallel approach to drug discovery, Healx has the potential to find treatments for millions of patients over the next few years with its comprehensive AI platform. “Patients are at the heart of all the work we do; at Healx, we believe that every rare disease patient deserves treatment. It’s our aim to translate 100 rare disease treatments towards the clinic by 2025,” says Dr. Tim Guilliams, CEO and co-founder of the company.

Healx understands the concerns and skepticism around using AI and addresses them by ensuring that predictions are reviewed and fed back into the platform by expert pharmacologists, generating a feedback loop which improves algorithms. “We are not interested in replacing the human impact, we want to empower the professionals to make the best decisions possible,” explains Guilliams. Healx’s aim is to ensure the delivery of high-quality AI-powered solutions—the industry’s gold standard.

The Healnet platform is designed for matching monotherapies and combination therapies to rare diseases.
The platform, together with the company’s team of pharmacologists led by Dr. David Brown (the co-inventor of Viagra), is helping pharmaceutical companies to discover new rare indications for their drugs or biologics and to find a synergy between their novel compounds and approved compounds to develop combination therapies.

Pharma companies usually focus on blockbuster drugs for common diseases to achieve the highest ROI possible. Healnet helps them to de-risk their investment, strengthen their IP, and open new markets. It is important to mention here that the company no longer seeks to work purely as a service provider. Instead, Healx wants to form meaningful, long-term partnerships and joint ventures with well-established biotechs and pharma companies.

Most recently, the company collaborated with FRAXA Research Foundation, the patient group for fragile X syndrome, to discover and progress novel treatment options for this rare disease. With the use of their AI-powered drug discovery platform, Healnet, FRAXA was able to predict drugs, and clearly demonstrate, in vivo, the efficacy of several monotherapy and combination therapy candidates. This project also identified new potential targets involved in the disease. FRAXA had previously spent 20 years and around $27 million researching potential treatments, however, by working together to harness the power of AI, the drug discovered by Healnet platform was ready for the clinic within 18 months. This cut typical drug development timelines by 80 percent along with the associated costs.

Apart from being the only company currently using AI to find treatments specifically for rare diseases, what gives Healx a cutting edge in the market is its experts and their commitment. “Our team of pharmacological and biocuration experts have over 60 years of pharma expertise and a wealth of drug discovery knowledge,” lauds Guilliams. Having proven the capabilities of its Healnet platform, Healx will soon double its portfolio by 2020. Five years from now, Healx’s technology will be mature enough to offer precision medicine treatments tailored to patients’ individual disease profiles. By focusing on approved drugs and harnessing the power of AI, Healx has the potential to find treatments for millions of patients in the space of a few years.