Cambridge, UK – 21 November 2019 – Healx, the AI-powered and patient-inspired technology company specialising in treatments for rare diseases, today announces that applications are now being accepted for its Rare Treatment Accelerator (RTA). The programme focuses on finding new treatments for rare diseases by partnering with selected rare disease patient groups to leverage the significantly accelerated process of drug repurposing, thanks to Healx’s AI platform. Healx intends to invest up to the value of $1M in AI and drug discovery resources per disease project, out of the total budget of $20M. The Company has also appointed Dr Bruce Bloom, DDS, JD, as Chief Collaboration Officer (CCO) to lead the programme.
Dr Bloom will be responsible for overseeing Healx’s existing collaborations and seeking out new global partnership opportunities with a wide range of organisations, including rare disease patient groups, research institutions, investigators and clinical groups.
Dr Bloom has over 40 years of experience in the healthcare industry and joins from Cures Within Reach (CWR), where he was Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer from 2005, becoming its CEO in 2017. During his 14-year tenure, CWR enabled more than a dozen repurposed therapies to reach and impact patients.
Partnerships are fundamental to Healx’s mission to accelerate the translation of repurposed therapies towards the clinic. The Company’s Healnet AI platform, combined with the expertise of their in-house drug discovery team and the unparalleled rare disease knowledge and skills offered by their partners, has allowed Healx to progress projects from treatment prediction stage towards clinical trial phase in a timeframe of 24 months.
The Company has been working with a number of patient groups since 2014 including its partnership with the FRAXA Research Foundation to develop new treatments for fragile X syndrome, the leading genetic cause of autism. A clinical study with its drug candidates for this indication is planned for the first quarter of 2020, underlining the speed at which Healx’s AI approach can accelerate candidates into human clinical trials.
In line with its strategy, applications are now open for Healx’s RTA programme, which was launched last month alongside the closing of its $56m Series B financing. In total, Healx has committed $20M, over the next two years, for investing in partnerships through the RTA, with no financial contribution required from patient groups.
In his role as CCO, Dr Bloom will be responsible for the RTA programme. This unique initiative aims to harness the power of AI to accelerate drug repurposing in order to address the unmet medical needs in a variety of rare diseases, including rare oncological and rare neurological diseases. Patient groups working in the rare diseases sector can now apply to be considered for the programme. The deadline for applications is 10 January 2020.
Commenting on his appointment, Dr Bruce Bloom, said: “In today’s world, prioritising patient needs is vital. This is what attracted me to Healx. 95% of rare diseases, afflicting 400 million people worldwide, currently do not have approved treatments and Healx’s Rare Treatment Accelerator programme provides great promise to significantly reducing this number, in part by expediting the often-lengthy drug discovery process. I’m eager to bring my passion for repurposing and facilitating research projects harnessing patient power to support Healx’s mission.”
Dr Tim Guilliams, Healx Co-Founder and CEO added: “Bruce has been involved with Healx as a scientific advisor since the early stages. He has witnessed our progress as we built up our knowledge base and generated a robust pipeline of rare disease assets across a number of therapeutic areas. His values absolutely align with our patient-first vision to provide affordable, effective treatments to as many rare disease patients as possible.
“We are also excited about our innovative RTA programme, headed up by Bruce, which will allow close collaboration with those who probably know the most about rare diseases - patient groups.”