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News | 27 April 2021

Healx appoints ex-Dyson lead, Andrew Watson, as VP of Artificial Intelligence

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Experienced machine learning and engineering leader Andrew Watson joins Healx from technology giant Dyson as VP of Artificial Intelligence. In his new role, Andrew will deepen the investment in Healx’s artificial intelligence team and scale Healx’s technical capabilities in order to identify and progress more novel treatments for rare diseases. Andrew’s appointment reinforces Healx’s commitment to technical excellence and AI innovation. It follows the senior appointment of ex-Monzo CTO Meri Williams last year and a 122% growth in Healx’s technology team in the last 12 months.

Cambridge, UK – 27 April 2021. Healx, the AI-powered, patient-inspired technology company accelerating the discovery and development of rare disease treatments at scale, is thrilled to announce that Andrew Watson has joined its senior leadership team as VP of Artificial Intelligence. In this new role, Andrew will be tasked with scaling Healx’s AI team and strategy to develop best-in-class drug discovery tools and accelerate innovation in tech-driven treatment development for rare diseases.

Andrew brings with him a wealth of scientific and technical expertise, accrued over 15 years in the field. He joins from technology giant Dyson, where he was the founding member of the Machine Learning Research department and led the research and implementation of machine learning and artificial intelligence across a variety of global product categories. In his time as Director of Machine Learning at Dyson, Andrew also established a new research group, focused on the intersection between machine learning and cutting-edge biomedical research.

Prior to Dyson, Andrew oversaw various innovation projects at security software company Symantec, where he was responsible for – amongst other things – architecting and delivering the world’s largest repository of information security data. He has also led technical teams at GCHQ and is currently undertaking a PhD in Pharmacy and Pharmacology at the University of Bath, with a focus on the pharmacokinetics of topically applied drugs. 

Renowned for delivering novel solutions to ‘impossible’ problems, Andrew’s expertise will be a huge asset to Healx’s work in the rare disease space, where 95% of rare conditions remain without treatment. A core tool under his remit will be Healnet, Healx’s AI-driven drug discovery platform. Healnet integrates data from multiple sources, including biomedical research and scientific literature, to form the world’s most detailed rare disease knowledge graph. This graph can then be analysed by multiple cutting-edge AI methods to rapidly identify and rank novel drug-disease relationships at scale. 

As VP of AI, Andrew will be tasked with continuing the momentum of technological development and drug discovery set by the Healx team over the last year. Indeed, Healx recently announced that it had added its latest project to its active discovery and development portfolio, and the team is planning to launch its first clinical trial later this year for Fragile X syndrome – the leading inherited cause of autism and learning difficulties in the world. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Andrew to the team,” said Tim Gulliams, CEO and co-founder of Healx. “He brings with him a rare set of skills that cut across technology, leadership and drug discovery, and we are very excited to have him on board to apply his expertise and build cutting-edge AI solutions. I am certain that under Andrew’s technical guidance, Healx will continue to confidently move towards realising its mission of helping rare disease patients around the globe access critical life-improving treatments.” 

Commenting on his appointment, Andrew Watson said: I’m excited to be joining Healx as it continues to scale. I’ve always been fascinated by applying machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to difficult problems and Healx is a great company for me to apply the skills I’ve learned in previous roles to help make a difference to rare disease patients around the world. The scientists, researchers, and engineers at Healx have developed an unparalleled drug discovery platform in Healnet, and I look forward to taking it even further as we continue to unlock the power of AI for rare diseases. I’m confident that together we can accelerate the development of new treatments, and I can’t wait to get started!

Andrew’s appointment reinforces Healx’s focus on technical excellence and AI innovation, and is the latest in a series of senior hires. Eugenia Wachters was appointed as VP of Commercial Portfolio Strategy in December last year, bringing with her over 25 years’ experience in developing commercial and market access strategies for national and international companies. Laura Fink also joined the team in February from fintech start-up SETL to lead Healx’s People and Culture Team and Mark Youseff was appointed Global Head of Business Development in March. Prior to joining Healx, Mark was the Global Head of Business Development at Acrotech Biopharma.

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About Healx

Healx is an AI-powered, patient-inspired technology company, dedicated to helping rare disease patients around the world access life-improving therapies. There are 7,000 known rare diseases that affect 400 million people across the globe but only 5% of those conditions have approved treatments. Healx uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify novel treatments for rare diseases from existing compounds and progress them towards patients in need. Their innovative approach means they can accelerate the pace, increase the scale and improve the chance of success of rare disease treatment development. 

Healx was founded in 2014 in Cambridge, UK, by Dr Tim Guilliams, a Biochemical Engineer and tech entrepreneur, and Dr David Brown, co-inventor of Viagra and former Global Head of Drug Discovery at Roche. For more information, visit www.healx.io or follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.  

For more information, please contact:

Charlotte Chorley, Director of Strategic Alignment and Communications, Healx

charlotte.chorley@healx.io