Healx teams up with Mission: Cure to discover and advance the world’s first treatments for chronic pancreatitis
Cambridge UK – 13 January 2021 – Healx, the AI-powered, patient-inspired technology company accelerating the discovery and development of rare disease treatments at scale, is proud to announce its latest Rare Treatment Accelerator Programme (RTA) partnership with Mission: Cure. This RTA collaboration is the fourth to emerge from the RTA 1.0, which was launched in October 2019 and focused on selecting rare diseases to work on in partnership with patient groups. The project will leverage Healx’s tech-driven drug repurposing approach alongside Mission: Cure’s patient insights and scientific research, knowledge and networks to identify and accelerate novel therapies for chronic pancreatitis.
Chronic pancreatitis is a sustained inflammation of the pancreas, the organ which helps digestion and regulates blood sugar. Chronic pancreatitis can seriously and irreversibly affect the organ’s ability to function properly – leading to severe abdominal pain, scarring, digestive problems and, in many cases, diabetes. It is also linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. More than 150,000 Americans and over a million people worldwide live with the condition, but sadly, there is currently no treatment available. Therefore, for many patients, the only hope is removal of the pancreas in a major surgery called a total pancreatectomy, which carries significant risks and side effects. By combining Healx’s AI-powered drug discovery expertise with Mission: Cure’s drug repurposing knowledge and scientific insights, this partnership aims to provide an alternative for patients by developing some of the first therapies for the condition.
To do this, Healx will be leveraging the power of Healnet – the world’s most comprehensive AI platform for rare diseases. Healnet integrates biomedical data from multiple sources to identify known drugs that can be combined and repurposed to create novel treatments for rare diseases. This tech-driven repurposing approach means the team is able to reduce the time, cost and risk associated with traditional drug development and progress treatments to patients in need more quickly and cost-effectively. This repurposing philosophy is shared by Mission: Cure, who have already invested significant resources to unlock the power of approved medicines.
Commenting on the partnership, Megan Golden, President at Mission: Cure, said: “We are excited to move the needle forward for pancreatitis patients with the help of Healx. Their AI-powered drug repurposing model gives pancreatitis patients hope that they will see an effective treatment for their disease in the next five years.”
Meera Swami, Drug Discovery Alliance Manager at Healx, says: “Healx is incredibly proud to be working with Mission: Cure. They are an organisation which shares our passion for, and investment in, patient-centred care and drug repurposing for rare diseases. We are looking forward to combining our expertise to accelerate novel therapies for chronic pancreatitis and we hope to have more to share in the next few months.”
Healx firmly believes in the importance of early and continued engagement of patient groups for all of the projects in its pipeline to ensure that the treatments it develops provide meaningful patient benefit. This partnership with Mission: Cure is the latest such collaboration and builds on the team’s announcements last year that it would be working with the Children’s Tumor Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy UK and the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics to identify and progress treatments for their rare conditions.
All of these partnerships are part of Healx’s Rare Treatment Accelerator, an innovative partnership programme which connects academic groups, patient groups and early-stage biotechs with Healx’s team of experts to unlock the power of repurposed drugs for rare diseases – 95% of which are still without an approved treatment. v2.0 of the RTA was launched in November last year and is focused on partnering with groups who have identified promising drug repurposing opportunities for rare diseases but need additional support to bring them to patients. Recognising the all-too-common lack of financial investment and clinical expertise needed to translate repurposed drugs from research to reality, Healx will use its AI, drug development and clinical expertise, as well as significant financial resources, to evaluate, enhance and accelerate the repurposed drugs, with the aim of starting a clinical trial within 6-12 months. To learn more about the RTA, please go to https//healx.io/rta.
Healx is an AI-powered, patient-inspired technology company, accelerating the discovery and development of rare disease treatments at scale. 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’s mission is to identify and progress novel therapies for the 95% of rare diseases without approved treatment. To do this, Healx combines AI technology with drug discovery expertise and patient insight to identify existing drugs that may be repurposed and combined to treat rare diseases. This innovative approach means treatments can be found more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively than traditional drug discovery methods allow. 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, please visit www.healx.io or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Mission: Cure
Mission: Cure is a nonprofit organisation that aims to dramatically improve the health and well-being of people suffering from chronic and recurrent acute pancreatitis within 10 years, demonstrating a new model for curing disease. Mission: Cure partners with patients and their families, researchers, clinicians, pharmaceutical companies, and other stakeholders to discover life-altering therapies—including repurposed drugs—and bring them to patients. To support efficient therapy development and more effective care pathways, Mission: Cure works with health systems and payers to pilot innovative funding models that incentivise patient outcomes. For more information about Mission: Cure or our quest for a cure, please visit www.mission-cure.org.
For more information on this announcement, please contact:
Head of Communications, Healx
President, Mission: Cure