GenoRate: using AI to speed up the drug development process
Empiric Logic’s data analysis tool will improve understanding of human health
Empiric Logic CEO Gareth O’Sullivan and senior data scientist Shubham Gorawara at NovaUCD. Photograph: Paul Sharp/Sharppix
It can take up to 15 years and about $2.5 billion to develop a new drug treatment, so anything with the potential to shorten this cycle is going to pique the interest of the pharma sector worldwide. Empiric Logic, a NovaUCD-based start-up, is hoping to do just that with GenoRate, its AI data analysis platform, which is designed to create a better understanding of human health and make drug development and disease treatments more efficient.
“Empiric Logic is focused on using transformational technologies in the precision medicine space to provide new insights into drug discovery, improve the diagnosis of conditions and support the more accurate, faster and more secure development of drugs and treatments,” says company founder and CEO Gareth O’Sullivan. “It also supports the process of drug repositioning – so right drug, right condition, right dose – and reduces diagnosis and discovery complexity and cost, and simplifies the process of extracting valuable insights from a variety of complex data types in a secure manner.”
Empiric Logic will be offering its solutions to the life sciences, pharma and biotech sectors to begin with, but its platform is also suitable for applications in wider health, wellness and nutrition settings. The company’s platform is innovative in its marketplace because it is the first to combine several key analysis stages with AI on one secure platform. Doing this helps reduce the time it takes researchers to conduct gene target discovery, and this is significant because it narrows down the field, leaving those developing treatments free to concentrate on the genes implicated in specific conditions.
Empiric Logic was set up in October 2018 and employs three people. It has been trading since August and is currently recruiting for roles in bioinformatics, software development and data science. Employment at the company is expected to top 30 people within the next three years. The company’s revenue model is software-as-a-service and is based on an annual license subscription.
“We were inspired to create our platform to simplify the exploration of human health, using genomics and other data to quickly identify the probable causes of both rare and common diseases such as multiple sclerosis, liver disease and cancer. By doing so we aim to accelerate diagnosis and optimise key stages of the development for more accurate treatments for such diseases,” says O’Sullivan, who has spent the last 20 years in the software industry in a variety of roles, most recently in senior solution architect, technology and security consulting and business development roles for companies such as IBM and WhiteHat Security.
“The convergence of large complex data sets, scalable cloud compute infrastructure, artificial intelligence and better-defined security frameworks prompted us to develop these technologies into one platform,” he adds.
“Our solution will be of particular interest to organisations whose core business is probably not technology-related and who may not have access to the right technical and bioinformatics skills. Using our service will help these organisations to reduce overheads and remove the complexity of getting to the answers and outcomes they need, quickly.”
Empiric’s product reach is global and its first group of customers come from Canada, the US and Ireland, where the company recently announced a collaboration with the rare disease and orphan drugs pharma company, Open Orphan. (Orphan drugs are developed to treat extremely rare conditions). The company is also working closely with the centre for rare diseases at UCD.
Development costs to date have been boostrapped at around €100,000 and the company, which has received support from Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Local Enterprise Office, is also on track for Enterprise Ireland HPSU funding. It is currently in the process of raising a seed round, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.