First-of-its-kind AI-based Diagnostics Solutions Approved in Europe

by Dana Sokolova    Contributor        Biopharma insight / Biopharma Insights

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According to the World Health Organisation, cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020 - nearly every 6th death worldwide happens because of this disease. Among all cancer cases, the top 3 types of cancer by incidence were breast (2.26 million cases), lung (2.21 million cases), colon and rectum (1.93 million cases). With the drastic lifespan increase over the last semi-centenary, more and more people will be diagnosed with cancer. Based on 2015-2017 data National Cancer Institute of the United States concluded that 39.5% of men and women will become oncology patients at some point of their lives. And this number will only increase as NIH expects a trifold rise of cancer related deaths in 2040 compared to 2020.These appalling predictions leave no other choice than to address this problem, and  major biotech companies and renowned research institutions all over the world are striving to offer solutions to this challenge for more than a century.  

European regulators have approved two AI-based first-of-their-kind diagnostics solutions by a French-American company Owkin -- RlapsRisk BC and MSIntuit CRC. The company aim to help millions of breast and colorectal cancer patients receive personalised treatment sooner. By using AI on readily-available digital pathology slides, these two diagnostic solutions aim to democratise access to precision medicine by offering a rapid, cost-effective and efficient toolset for personalising treatment.

Owkin was founded in 2016 by Thomas Clozel MD, a former assistant professor in clinical onco-haematology, and Gilles Wainrib, a pioneer in the field of machine learning in biology. Since then, Owkin has raised over $300 million and became a unicorn through a $180 million investment from Sanofi in November 2021. 

Owkin aims to develop more biomarker pre-screening and outcome prediction diagnostics across a range of disease areas.The company established its mission in connecting patient care with medical research to discover new mechanisms of diseases and developing better-tailored treatments for unmet medical needs.

According to Meriem Sefta, Chief Diagnostics Officer at Owkin, the mission of the company is apply AI to find the right treatment for every patient. "Novel drugs allow us to personalise treatments to patients’ individual disease characteristics, promising a new era of precision medicine. But one roadblock that doctors face is finding these patients rapidly, accurately and efficiently.” says Meriem. 

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Topics: Emerging Technologies   

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