7 Jul 2021

AI & You – Startups Changing The Way We Do Medicine

Startup, Venture Capital, AI, Medicine, Medical Startups

From stock market predictions to cybersecurity, modern AI is transforming industries that we never thought could be automated. But can the machines do the work originally reserved for savvy doctors and elite chemists? Here are the startups that could permanently change the way we get our healthcare.

Causaly – Making Connections for New Cures

Before a drug can begin making money or saving lives, a connection must be made between the chemical in question and the condition it will ultimately treat. But this is far more easily said than done. When connections like this are found in the scientific community, they are published as one of tens of millions of other documents, some public and some not. Most often, researchers have no chance of reading the right paper at the right time to make that ground-breaking discovery.

Causaly, a London-based startup, is using machine learning to change this, with remarkable success. Causaly’s algorithm claims to connect “every known biomedical cause and effect relationship to date”, drawing conceptual networks between hundreds of thousands of papers at a time. The software can even visualise new findings for the user, making these findings radically easier to interpret.

In just a few clicks, visiting researchers can have a personalised pie chart, to sum up every protein ever considered a target for the treatment of auto-immune disease, and precisely which conditions they are expected to cause. Its growth as a business is also hugely encouraging; Causaly is already working with nine large pharmaceutical companies, from UCB and Novartis, and as of this month has raised $17 million from its investors to expand into new markets.

BioXcel – Re-Innovating the Drugs We Already Have

As anyone who’s ever experienced unpleasant side effects can agree, no drug has just one effect on the human body.

Medical history is filled with eagle-eyed doctors who spotted unexpected clinical benefits to over-the-counter pills. Aspirin, commercially used to treat aches and pains, debuted as a preventative for heart attacks when a suburban GP noticed an improvement in his own patients’ heart attack rates in the 1940s. However, as was the case with aspirin, these hidden uses of existing treatments can go undiscovered for decades.


Startup, Venture Capital, AI, Tech Startups, BioTech Startup

AI-powered robotics are being used in healthcare and pharmacology. Image via Udacity.com.

US-based BioXcel is a drug development startup with a “re-innovation” approach to discovery. By leveraging existing approved drugs which have already been clinically evaluated, the algorithm drives up the likelihood that treatments suggested by the company are both safe and effective, drastically driving down the expected failure rate for new medical treatments. As of today, BioXcel drugs are already on their way to improving the quality of life for patients with a wide range of disorders including reducing agitation of severe dementia.

So what’s Next?

Innovative though these businesses are, pharmaceutical AI won’t be confined to the startup sphere forever. The industry’s biggest players, such as Bayer, AstraZeneca and GSK, are all forming partnerships with AI developers. It seems more than likely that, thanks to these new algorithms, the next big cancer treatment, heart attack medication or mental health drug might just have been dreamt up by a machine.

Interested in the latest health tech businesses? Join Floww today to discover new startups, gain access to unique global businesses and filter your search based on region, funding stage and sector. Learn more here.

Header Image: Startups are leveraging AI to change how we do medicine, Image from Robots.inc 

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