Alphabet's GV invests $5 million in AI startup Owkin

By Jonah Comstock
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Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the funding amount. The story has been updated to accurately reflect that Owkin raised $5 million in funding. 

New York City-based Owkin, which uses machine learning to enhance biomedical research, has raised $5 million in Series A follow-on funds. GV, the venture arm of Alphabet formerly known as Google Ventures, was the sole investor. After Owkin picked up $11 million in January, this new raise brings the company's Series A funding to $16 million and its total funding to $18.1 million.

"There is a constant race happening between the data at hand and the knowledge we gain from it," Owkin CEO Dr. Thomas Clozel said in a statement. "At Owkin, our goal is to augment doctors’ and researchers’ capabilities in transforming data into knowledge and prediction, and achieve breakthrough medical moments such as the discovery of a new biomarker or target that could transform how patients are treated. Having GV’s investment in Owkin further validates the need to create new tools for the future of medical research.”

Owkin uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to organize, validate, predict, and compare information. It then builds mathematical models and algorithms to interpret biostatistics data and patient profiles.

The company’s flagship technology, called Socrates, uses machine learning and algorithms to create predictive models for drug development. The platform combines its algorithms to real-world data and integrates pre-trained models using proprietary privacy-preserving transfers and federated learning technologies. The technology also looks at molecular and imaging libraries to find complex biomarker patterns that cause disease.

Owkin aims to help the companies find biomarker patterns, design drugs, predict drug responses to design precision clinical trials, and help the right medication get to the target demographic. 

The company will use the new funding to continue the development of Socrates, strengthen strategic partnerships, and support internal growth, according to a statement from the company.

"Owkin has assembled a talented team of experts in applied machine learning with clinical data experience,” Adam Ghobarah, general partner at GV, said in a statement. “Utilizing EHR-derived clinical data, pathology imaging, and sequencing data, Owkin has created a differentiated approach to rich datasets that are highly valuable to research institutions and the pharmaceutical industry at large.”

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