Mayo Clinic and nference today launched a startup, Qrativ, focused on drug development driven by artificial intelligence. The company, backed by a $8.3 million Series A round, plans to combine nference’s AI platform and Mayo Clinic’s clinical data.
Qrativ hopes to use AI to discover potential new therapeutic indications for drugs earlier in development, in an effort to identify new treatments for rare conditions.
““In the last three years, the AI field has gained incredible momentum driven by major breakthroughs in deep learning neural networks,” co-founder & CEO of Qrativ and nference Murali Aravamudan said in prepared remarks. “Our core technology based on a neural network ensemble identifies nascent drug-disease, drug-gene and other therapeutically-relevant associations from the vast biomedical literature. The spatio-temporal signals are triangulated with real-world phenotypic and molecular evidence amassed from systemic and longitudinal patient care, which we believe can significantly accelerate drug discovery and development.”
“The ingenuity of Qrativ is that it will combine clinical insight and clinical need from Mayo Clinic with robust informatics capabilities,” Dr. Andrew Badley, the company’s co-founder & chief medical officer, added. “By taking into account genomic predictors of both desired treatment response and unwanted toxicity, Qrativ will be able to identify potential drug candidates more swiftly. This will enable us to use nference’s big data capabilities to define highly targeted patient populations and then leverage the deep clinical expertise of Mayo clinicians to design and implement optimal proof of concept trials to meet the unmet needs of our patients.”
Mayo Clinic, which has a financial stake in Qrativ, said it plans to use any revenue it receives to fund its efforts in patient care, education and research.
“This is a bold step for Mayo Clinic and complements our patient-centered care approach with an innovative way to uncover new therapeutic indications for drugs in the collective industry pipeline,” Dr. Badley said. “It enables us to search for all possible uses of a drug starting at the early stages of development. That’s why we call this approach ‘drug purposing’ and not ‘repurposing.’ Through these collaborations, we hope to maximize every drug’s potential for as many patients and diseases as possible.”
“Solving unmet needs of the patients requires a union of forces,” Dr. Clark Otley, medical director for Mayo Clinic’s department of business development, said. “This collaboration is an example of our commitment to swiftly bring effective life-changing therapies to patients.”