According to a story from Venture Beat, the company Healx has succesfully raised $56 million in funds that will go towards using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify new potential treatments for rare diseases. Healx has developed a unique AI platform called Healnet that utilizes machine learning on a variety of sources related to drug development and rare disease research, such as disease symptoms, various data sources, research literature, trial data, chemical structures, and more in order to compile as much info as possible about a given condition.
The point of getting together all of this data is so that researchers can utilize it all at once in order to determine possible rare disease treatments. The overwhelming majority of rare diseases do not have FDA approved treatments. It is worth noting that goal is not necessarily just to develop all-new treatments; the data could also be used to identify potentially useful drug combinations or find drugs that might have the potential to be repurposed and utilized in a new way.
These developments will hopefully pave the way for Healx to develop a portfolio of potential rare disease therapies that are at the clinical stage for disorders such as fragile X syndrome (FXS), a genetic disorder that can cause autism. The company is also launching what has been dubbed a global accelerator program that aims to identify potential rare disease therapies in two years or less. The company aims to work closely with patient groups and clinicians.
Healx is far from the only company that is planning to rely on AI technology as a centerpiece for its future operations and goals. At this juncture, a diverse array of companies around the world, such as Recursion Pharmaceuticals, Insilico Medicine, and BenevolentAI will all be utilizing AI for the purposes of drug discovery; Healx is distinguishing itself by focusing on rare diseases and drug repurposing, however.
Healx has set the ambitious goal of identifying 100 possible rare disease drugs by the year 2025.