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News | 15 April 2020

Healx partners with Children’s Tumor Foundation to progress neurofibromatosis treatments; recruits patient advocate to lead collaborative drug discovery efforts

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The partnership is designed to progress treatments for neurofibromatosis (NF). Simone Manso joins Healx as Head of Neurofibromatosis Strategic Partnerships to lead the initiative from a patient perspective.

Cambridge UK – 15 April 2020 – Healx, the AI-powered and patient-inspired tech company specialising in accelerating the discovery and development of rare disease treatments, today announced a partnership with US and Europe-based patient group Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) to progress new AI-derived therapies for neurofibromatosis (NF).

NF is a rare genetic disorder that affects 1 in 3,000 people worldwide. Currently, no treatments exist for any of the three types of NF (NF1, NF2 and schwannomatosis). Healx will combine its AI technology and drug discovery expertise with the disease data, networks and patient insights of CTF to predict and progress novel therapies for NF1.

Leading the collaborative drug discovery efforts is Simone Manso who joins Healx as Head of NF Strategic Partnerships. Simone also serves as a member of CTF’s Board of Directors (BoD) and is the Chairman of CTF Europe’s BoD.

Simone Manso, Head of Neurofibromatosis Strategic Partnerships at Healx said: “Healx has the tech and pharmacology expertise, along with the ability to quickly move treatments towards patients, whilst CTF brings the strong NF know-how and patient, clinical and academic networks. Most importantly, both teams have a shared passion for striving to improve the quality of life for NF patients. I can’t think of a better partnership and I am honoured to lead this effort, which is personally, very close to my heart. This is where the magic can happen!”

Dr Annette Bakker, President of CTF commented: “We at CTF are very excited about this partnership. It is very encouraging that Healx is committed to developing innovative treatments for NF patients in collaboration with CTF. CTF will facilitate the translation of Healx’s comprehensive AI-based discoveries into clinical benefit using our non-profit R&D enabling platform.”

 

The partnership marks the latest in a growing number of collaborative projects between Healx and patient groups worldwide – spanning multiple disease areas (including rare cancers, metabolic and neurological disorders). Healx’s most advanced project currently is with the US-based patient group FRAXA Research Foundation, which has progressed a number of new therapies for fragile X syndrome from the drug prediction stage, to being ready for clinical testing – in just 24 months.

Whilst Healx has recently taken on extra work to use AI and repurposing to help find treatments to target COVID-19, the Company continues to move forward with their primary mission to develop new therapies for rare disease patients. This collaboration with CTF will accelerate their work in NF.

In addition to the CTF collaboration, Healx recently closed the first call for applications to its Rare Treatment Accelerator – a global partnering programme that gives patient groups and Healx the opportunity to work together to progress new rare disease treatments. Healx has committed $20 million in AI drug discovery resources over the next two years to this programme and will be announcing more details on the chosen collaborations in the next few months.


 

About Healx

Healx is an AI-powered and patient-inspired technology company, accelerating the discovery and development of rare disease treatments. Their AI drug discovery platform leverages public and proprietary biomedical data and features the world’s leading knowledge graph for rare diseases. Combining their technology with patient insight and drug discovery expertise, Healx’s mission is to quickly advance new rare disease treatments towards the clinic.

About the Children’s Tumor Foundation

The Children’s Tumor Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to funding and driving innovative research that will result in effective treatments for the millions of people worldwide living with neurofibromatosis (NF), a term for three distinct disorders: NF1, NF2, and schwannomatosis. NF causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and may lead to blindness, deafness, bone abnormalities, disfigurement, learning disabilities, disabling pain and cancer. There is no cure yet – but the Children’s Tumor Foundation’s mission of driving research, expanding knowledge and advancing care for the NF community fosters their vision of one day ending NF. For more information, please visit www.ctf.org.

Please click here to download the full press release.