Drug discovery and trialling is usually a long and tedious process. What if AI can substantially speed it up?
That's the premise of Quris, an artificial intelligence company hoping to disrupt the pharmaceutical arena. The company just announced the final close of $28 million in seed funding to support its clinical prediction platform. The platform launched last year and has made quick progress: Quris is prepping a drug that addresses Fragile X syndrome (FXS), a common cause of Autism spectrum disorders, for clinical testing in 2022.
According to a company statement about the drug:
The tremendous potential of our platform to de-risk and drastically cut drug development time is evidenced by our preparation for clinical testing of our first drug developed with our Bio-AI Clinical Prediction Platform targeting Fragile-X Syndrome. Fragile-X Syndrome ($200M market) is the most common inherited cause of autism and intellectual disabilities worldwide and to date, big pharma drugs have repeatedly failed in clinical trials. Novartis and Roche tried and failed developing a drug for Fragile-X. Our drug is based on multiple top-tier peer-reviewed publications, and is the only drug that addresses the root cause of the disease and holds potential even to curing the disease altogether.
Quris' funding is led by Welltech Ventures with participation from iAngels, GlenRock Capital, and others. Investors have been keen to ride the AI wave into the lucrative waters of next-gen Pharma trends. Investment in AI drug discovery and trialling quadrupled last year.
"We seek to back the leaders defining the future of healthcare. As early investors in the pharma and digital-health space, we've seen how multidisciplinary capabilities, combining AI and biotech, are necessary to penetrate these highly complex and competitive industries," says Shelly Hod Moyal, managing partner of iAngels. "This is exactly why we invested in Quris; the first AI clinical-prediction platform that simulates clinical trials by leveraging a patented organ-on-chip system through the use of stem-cell-derived tissue and AI. The platform is able to simulate a real human body's reaction to drugs without the timely and inaccurate animal-testing stage, which has the potential to revolutionize the entire pharmaceutical industry."
Quris' model is to use AI-powered miniaturized "patients-on-a-chip" to avoid the risks and costs of failed clinical trials and eliminate the reliance on animal testing. In partnership with The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute, Quris is working on an automated, self-training AI platform that better predicts clinical safety and efficacy for new drug candidates.
"Now is the time to tap technology to transform drug development and end the costly cycle of failed clinical trials," says Quris CEO Isaac Bentwich. "The added investor support will help Quris grow the team and partnerships needed to create a clear view to predicting the clinical safety of drugs for individual patients. With the technological advances at our disposal, we can close the clinical prediction gap."