This interview is part of our new AI in Healthcare series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and healthcare.
In this interview, we speak with Dr. Krishnan Nandabalan, President and Chief Executive Officer at InveniAI, to understand how his company is using AI to transform healthcare, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind InveniAI? Why and how did you begin?
KN: Our parent company BioXcel was founded in 2005 to use the explosion of digital data and a talent pool of domain experts as a driving force for R&D decision making in the pharma value chain. Very early in this journey, we witnessed the rapid imbalance between the accumulation of data and the number of domain experts we could deploy. Implementing modern technology was the only way forward to ensure that the onslaught of data could be leveraged to accelerate decision-making for biopharma research and development.
The first decade was spent validating the platform and working closely with pharma and biotech companies to help them with the re-innovation of parked assets and with monitoring innovation to ensure a first mover advantage. We also used the platform to create our own clinical pipeline of molecules in immuno-oncology and neuroscience.
As a result, in early 2017 two subsidiaries were formed. InveniAI became the technology arm and adopted the artificial intelligence (AI) -driven technology platform, AlphaMeldTM, as well as a team of 75+ cross-functional domain experts. Our sister company, BioXcel Therapeutics, inherited the therapeutic pipeline in neuroscience and became the first AI-driven drug company to go public on NASDAQ (BTAI), with a $60M raise – one of many validations of the power of our platform.
Although the industry focus began in biopharma, more recently AlphaMeld has proven successful in adjacencies such as consumer healthcare, animal therapeutics, food and nutrition and defense. This came with the realization that the algorithms we created to detect signals of innovation were applicable across a variety of industries.
2. Please describe your use case and how your company uses AI:
KN: The vast amount of data generated every day across multiple industries contains invaluable and sometimes discrete signs of innovation, otherwise known as ‘alpha signals’. Built over the last decade, AlphaMeld is our flagship platform that uses AI- and machine learning (ML)-based algorithms to identify alpha signals of breakthrough innovation.
It is a universal system used to detect and access the earliest signs of innovation, and it places these innovations in the context of an unmet need or a product. The platform constantly learns and adapts to new and evolving data sets and uses proprietary industry-aware algorithms that monitor and identify these alpha signals. The platform operates in real-time and recognizes patterns of innovation in a rapidly changing and diverse data environment by engaging experts (both internal and client-based) to personalize the definition of success for an organization. AlphaMeld eliminates dependence on a time-series and instead incorporates continuous feedback through ML.
For drug discovery and development AlphaMeld provides:
- An innovation monitoring platform of targets, drugs, technologies, and a variety of emerging therapeutic areas
- Hypothesis generation to create a machine-based clinical hypothesis by decoding hidden connections between targets and mechanisms of action (MOAs) with diseases.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
KN: One such example is our collaboration with Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd (KHK), a research-based life sciences company with a focus on new biologics and medicines for unmet medical needs. AlphaMeld was deployed to maximize KHK’s portfolio value through the re-innovation of an existing therapeutic pipeline into new disease indications. The platform provides a highly systematic approach to recognize patterns and hidden connections between drugs/mechanisms and disease indications for clinical indication optimization. The connections that are uncovered drive innovative clinical hypotheses for each asset, both parked and approved, with no restrictions on therapeutic areas that can be aligned. The details of Kyowa Hakko Kirin’s compounds and MOAs are proprietary and will remain undisclosed.
Another example would be a top 5 consumer healthcare company where consumer innovation in some areas is still not regulated like pharma, so the amount of data available across this source of innovation is multifold when compared with pharma. Our platform has been utilized to scan the transformative innovation happening in the consumer healthcare space to rapidly assess the early adoption of innovation. This includes examples such as over-the-counter (OTC) medications as well as digital technologies or to assess potential collaborative opportunities.
For a top 10 pharma company, we use the platform to battle the current failure rate of drugs in development by generating predictive insights for the probability of clinical success of a drug. As an example, in the liver disease space, we assessed the entire gamut of drugs in Phase II development and AphaMeld has identified over five drugs that have over 80% probability of achieving endpoints.
4. What other AI use cases in healthcare are you excited about?
KN: It has been gratifying to see the ease of applicability of detecting innovation beyond biopharma. We’re excited to see InveniAI branch out into other industry verticals as well as seeing the impact of the platform in eventually satisfying an unmet need and making an impact on patients, consumers and company trajectories.
5. Where will your company be in 5 years?
KN: InveniAI was founded in early 2017 with offices in Guilford, CT, Basel, Switzerland and Gurugram, India. We have several collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies, with more in negotiations and discussions. Given the short time span that InveniAI has been in existence, it has forged ahead establishing a brand and awareness for the need for fueling an organization’s growth with AI-powered tools. Where will InveniAI be in 5 years? Establishing a global presence will be key and expansion of the platform beyond the life sciences into food and nutrition, agriculture, aerospace, and defense. Synonymous with “innovation”, we hope that InveniAI will provide global communities that it’s time to break the box with AI.