Healx to use AI platform Healnet to find COVID-19 treatments

It’s hoped that the platform from Healx will assist the finding of appropriate drug combinations for battling COVID-19 and improve immune response.

This drug discovery process will focus on finding two or more approved drugs that target areas of COVID-19’s pathology.

Healnet will overcome the challenge of analysing in detail all possible combinations out of the 4,000 available approved drugs on the market by generating success predictions, using biometric data from multiple sources.

As well as COVID-19, there is an aim for combinations developed using Healnet to have a wider use amongst other vulnerable patients.

Combination candidates are planned to be made available for preclinical testing in May 2020.

“The recent spread of COVID-19 is risking the lives of millions of rare disease patients across the world,” said Dr David Brown, chairman of Healx. “The company’s AI technology is perfectly positioned to support the efforts to find treatments for COVID-19.

“Healx’s data-driven AI platform is able to predict, within weeks, which known drugs can be repurposed to treat other conditions such as COVID-19. This approach significantly shortens discovery-to-clinic timelines.

“Our AI is able to combine 2-3 existing drugs to formulate the most effective treatment. This approach ensures that any potential treatments we identify can be used by clinicians to help patients very quickly.”

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Healx’s primary focus is finding treatment for 95% of 7,000 rare diseases, including cystic fibrosis and Alström syndrome. Many patients suffering from these diseases have pre-existing heart or respiratory conditions that have been linked to the highest mortality rates amongst COVID-19 sufferers.

“Rare disease patients – especially those with respiratory or immune conditions – are feeling particularly vulnerable to serious complications of infection,” said Dr Rick Thompson, CEO of Findacure. “Efforts like Healx’s to find viable treatments for COVID-19 will have a huge impact on the world’s rare disease communities, whose quest for support and treatments can be all too easy to overlook.”


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.