Owkin, a medical research machine learning startup, has announced a new investor in the form of GV (formerly Google Ventures), which has now joined as a late entrant to Owkin’s series A round.
Founded in 2016, Owkin’s platform leverages deep learning algorithms to help clinical researchers across academia, medicine, and the pharmaceutical industries develop predictive models and expedite drug development throughout the whole process. The platform, dubbed Socrates, integrates genomics, clinical data, and biomedical images to identify characteristics, or “biomarkers,” associated with diseases.
“There is a constant race happening between the data at hand and the knowledge we gain from it,” noted Owkin CEO and cofounder Thomas Clozel. “At Owkin, our goal is to augment doctors’ and researchers’ capabilities in transforming data into knowledge and prediction, and achieve breakthrough medical moments such as the discovery of a new biomarker or target that could transform how patients are treated.”
The New York-based startup, which was founded out of France originally, announced it had closed a series A round at $11 million back in January; however, it then opened an extension to the round to allow GV to enter the fray. The company wouldn’t reveal exactly how much GV has invested as part of this extension, but it doesn’t require a great deal of mathleticism to figure it out. Owkin has raised $18 million in total, and, prior to now, it had raised $13.1 million — including the initial series A segment from January. This means that GV has likely plowed around $5 million into the startup.
“Owkin has assembled a talented team of experts in applied machine learning with clinical data experience,” noted GV general partner Adam Ghobarah. “Utilizing EHR-derived clinical data, pathology imaging, and sequencing data, Owkin has created a differentiated approach to rich datasets that are highly valuable to research institutions and the pharmaceutical industry at-large.”
GV has a long history of investments in life sciences, having recently invested in the likes of SpyBiotech, an Oxford University spinout working on next-generation vaccines, and clinical trial technology company Science 37.
Elsewhere, in July Google announced a new venture fund called Gradient Ventures aimed specifically at early-stage AI startups, which recently made its first medical sciences investment when it plowed money into BenchSci to help speed up biomedical discoveries.
Owkin said the fresh cash influx will help it develop its AI platform and build strategic partnerships. The company’s existing partners include pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen, Roche, and Ipsen, while it also collaborates with medical institutions including Mount Sinai, Institut Curie, and Centre Léon Bérard.
Though Owkin is officially a U.S. company now, the majority of its 25-strong workforce is still based in France.