Communiqué de presse
Owkin Raises $25M to Scale its Privacy-Preserving Federated Research Ecosystem
As the world responds to COVID-19, speed, and collaboration in clinical research has never been more important. Our collective race to understand and discover treatments for this threat to society offers unprecedented opportunities to improve the field of medical research
New York, NY — May 7, 2020 — Owkin, a leader in bringing applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) and and machine learning (ML) technologies to collaborative medical research, announced the close of $25M in funding. The round was led by Bpifrance Large Venture, with co-investments from Cathay Innovation and MACSF(French Pension Fund for Clinicians), joining existing investors GV, F-Prime Capital and Eight Roads.
Owkin connects data scientists, clinicians, academic researchers and pharma in an unprecedented way in its “AI virtual lab.” This enables the discovery of medical insights such as biomarkers, mechanisms of action, and predictive models, with the ultimate goal of developing better treatments and improving patient outcomes. Owkin offers a privacy-preserving platform powered by technologies in federated learning, multimodal and interpretable AI applied on research-grade datasets curated by a team of leading physician researchers.
Laurent Higueret, Investment Director at Bpifrance Large Venture, who is joining Owkin’s Board of Directors, states: “Through this investment, we are especially proud to back a new leader in artificial intelligence, with a global roadmap, impressive management team and investors pool. This round also confirms Bpifrance’s investment ambitions in deeptech and biotech.”
Thomas Clozel, Owkin co-founder and CEO, adds: “This commitment from Large Venture is the beginning of a long-term collaboration between Bpifrance and Owkin, powered by a shared vision to develop technologies to improve patients’ outcomes.”
Achieving the most accurate view of patient treatment requires collaboration that is both inclusive and secure. To that end, Owkin is assembling a global research network powered by federated learning, a framework for AI model development that trains ML models on distributed data at scale across the best academic medical institutions in the world without centralizing the data.
Through decentralized ML and AI, Owkin enables researchers to draw insights from millions of multimodal data points, while keeping patient data preserved safely within the hospital’s local security infrastructure. Owkin’s proprietary platform, Owkin Studio, integrates these biomedical images, genomics, and clinical data to discover biomarkers and mechanisms associated with diseases and treatment outcomes that will propel the next generation of drugs. Ultimately, this method can result in an acceleration of the clinical research process that offers protected data for patients, exhaustive traceability of computations for institutions, maximum collaboration for researchers, and predictive power for data scientists.
Jacky Abitbol, Partner at Cathay Innovation, says: “Since we first backed Owkin in 2017, we have been sharing its vision to apply AI to fighting one of the most dreadful diseases on earth: cancer. Owkin has risen to become a leader in digital health, we are proud to grow our investment in the company to fuel its ambition to pioneer AI for medical research, while preserving patient-privacy and data security.”
Stanislas Subra, Head of Venture Capital at MACSF, explains: “In only a few years, Owkin has managed to build a platform fueled by state-of-the-art privacy-preserving AI technologies to empower researchers in academia and pharma. We are delighted to fund its growth.”
To fight today’s COVID-19 pandemic, Owkin launched the Covid-19 Open AI Consortium (COAI), leveraging Owkin’s platform and technologies, with the aim of advancing collaborative research and accelerating clinical development of effective treatments for patients infected with the coronavirus. Following Owkin’s collaborative philosophy, COAI unites academic institutions, researchers, data scientists and industry partners to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. All of its findings will be shared with the global medical and scientific communities. The first live research area explores cardiovascular complications in COVID-19 patients in collaboration with CAPACITY, an international registry working with over 50 centers worldwide. Other planned areas of research include patient outcomes and triage, prediction and characterization of immune response.
About Bpifrance Large Venture
Fund Large Venture is a €1.3 Billion venture capital fund, part of Bpifrance – the Public Investment Bank of France. Large Venture invests in fast-growing, capital intensive and highly promising startups looking to finance organic or external growth and having already raised capital. The team focuses on healthcare or green technology investment opportunities. For more information, please visit www.bpifrance.fr , follow @Bpifrance @BpifrancePresse on Twitter, or contact Laure Schlagdenhauffen email@example.com
About Cathay Innovation
Cathay Innovation is a global venture capital fund, created in affiliation with Cathay Capital Private Equity. It was founded around the shared conviction that supporting digital entrepreneurs by providing them with a platform bridging 3 continents, North America, Europe and China, constitutes a particularly powerful value-creation strategy. As a multi-stage fund, Cathay Innovation partners with visionary entrepreneurs, committed to driving change through technology. For more information, please visit https://www.cathayinnovation.com , follow @Cathayinnov on Twitter, or contact Yoann Besse Yoann.Besse@citigatedewerogerson.com
About MACSF (Mutuelle d’Assurance du Corps de Santé Français) MACSF has been the first pension fund for clinicians and medical professionals in France for over 80 years. Employing more than 1,500 specialists and generating more than €2 Billion in revenues. For more information, please visit www.macsf.fr/groupe, or contact Severine Sollier firstname.lastname@example.org
The French-American startup, which was co-founded in 2016 by Dr. Thomas Clozel, a clinical research doctor and former assistant professor in clinical hematology and Gilles Wainrib, PhD, a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence in biology, has raised $55 million in venture capital. It provides AI technologies to several of the largest health medical centers and pharmaceutical companies in Europe and in the U.S. For more information, please visit www.owkin.com, follow @OWKINscience on Twitter, contact Anna Huyghues-Despointes: email@example.com or David Cirilli: firstname.lastname@example.org