Health tech firm Healx, which specialises in treatments for rare diseases, has raised $56m (£43.4m) in a Series B financing round led by European VC firm Atomico and joined by Intel Capital, Global Brain and btov Partners.
All previous investors, including Balderton Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners, and Jonathan Milner also participated in the round. The funding follows a $10m Series A round in 2018.
WHAT THEY DO
The UK-based firm specialises in using artificial intelligence to accelerate the discovery and development of rare disease treatments.
Its platform, Healnet, integrates scientific literature, clinical trial results and proprietary data in the form of a biomedical knowledge graph to deliver data-driven treatment predictions.
WHAT IT’S FOR
The funds will be used to develop the company’s therapeutic pipeline and to launch its global Rare Treatment Accelerator, a collaboration programme which allows select patient groups and clinicians to combine knowledge, information and expertise. It aims to leverage the power of AI to discover new treatments and move them towards the clinic within 24 months.
Healx is collaborating with the Fragile X Syndrome charity, FRAXA Research Foundation, to launch clinical trials to test multiple treatment combinations for the genetic condition. Further clinical programmes for other rare diseases are set to start later in 2020.
Other tech initiatives to diagnose rare disease, include three digital health pilots launched by Microsoft, Takeda and Eurordis in February, aimed at solving the issue of diagnosing children.
Meanwhile, London-based data platform Raremark, a platform focused on rare disease that engages with patients and researchers, announced a $3.9 million funding round in October last year.
ON THE RECORD
Healx co-founder and CEO Dr Tim Guilliams, said: “The size of this Series B financing, especially this quickly after our Series A round last year, is an endorsement of the value of our platform and the pace at which we have developed. It allows us to scale our impact with the launch of our Rare Treatment Accelerator programme and to progress into clinical trials.”
Irina Haivas, principal at Atomico and board member of Healx, said: “The current, expensive, trial-and-error-based model of drug discovery hasn’t changed in a century and it especially fails rare disease patients. 50% of these patients are children, many living with highly debilitating symptoms.
“Healx has shown that doesn’t have to be the case, by combining AI with world-class pharmacological expertise and putting patients first. We believe that the new paradigm in drug discovery will emerge at the intersection of technology, data, and biology, and we’re confident that Healx's team is paving the way to a new gold standard in rare disease treatment discovery.”