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Start-ups Meet Pharma Cohort 2021 – The Amgen challenge

For this year’s challenge, Amgen is searching for solutions to facilitate patients’ identification and screening in clinical trials.

18 start-ups from Germany, Austria, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Finland, Greece, Spain, Estonia and Israel have been selected for the Start-ups Meet Pharma 2021 cohort. This year, five challenges have been released in collaboration with five EIT Health Partners: Abbott, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Merck and Takeda.

Let’s take a closer look at Challenge #4:

Facilitate patients’ identification and/or screening in clinical trials by Amgen

Clinical trials are becoming more and more complex. Patient identification based on specific criteria and profile is a key element of site feasibility and current solutions do not allow to estimate recruitment potential in a timely manner. Therefore, Amgen is looking for innovative solutions to manage the identification and triaging of patients in clinical trials.

A total of 25 applications were received for the challenge. In the end, four French start-ups were selected: Collective Thinking (France), IMAGEENS (France), Clinical Trials Mobile Application (France), and CODOC (France).

Let’s find out more about their individual solutions:

Collective Thinking

Your solution to the challenge: A disrupting AI software called Intelligence For Health (i4H for short) that can analyse in real-time all unstructured textual content from clinical reports from the hospital EHR database to accurately screen for all eligible patients for clinical trials, increasing the reliability of feasibility studies and speeding up patient enrollment in open trial centres.

What makes it a good fit? Collective Thinking’s i4H software performs patient screening automatically and in real-time, using NLP (Natural Language Processing) technology. Once installed in the hospital’s information system, i4H allows the user to specify detailed inclusion and exclusion criteria and filter the contents of all EHR documents in the hospital’s database in seconds, providing an accurate estimate of the number of eligible patients over a given time period.

Major expectations from the programme: We expect this program to significantly accelerate our growth and the development of the i4H software by gaining valuable insights from stakeholders and industry leaders. The tailored entrepreneurship training dedicated to this use case will help us better define the product/market fit and business model, and address regulatory issues. One-on-one access to pharmaceutical sponsors is a tremendous opportunity to shorten the typical business cycle time by getting to pitch in front of key industry people.

The long-term vision for your start-up: To create a virtuous healthcare data ecosystem and position Collective Thinking as an interface between, on the one hand, hospitals that have vast amounts of real-world data infinitely rich in clinical information and, on the other hand, the pharmaceutical industry that needs access to clinically relevant information to improve patient treatments and better understand how its drugs work in the real world.

 

IMAGEENS

Your solution to the challenge: AI to automatically identify and triage patients with specific imaging characteristics in routine care and in Europe’s largest medical database. We have built an AI called “LABEL” to classify imaging data. LABEL does the work of a radiology expert by analyzing the image sequence and determining its characteristics directly from the images.

What makes it a good fit? IMAGEENS’ solution adapted to clinical trial recruitment would enable pharma to dramatically accelerate the recruitment of patients with highly specific patient characteristics (including imaging characteristics). The solution would allow real-time identification of patients’ eligibility to a given trial. On top of dramatically accelerating recruitment, this solution would also enable pharma to conduct trials on patients with more specific characteristics (more granular patient stratification), allowing a focus of drug development on high-unmet need patient subpopulations.

Major expectations from the programme: IMAGEENS is looking for a pharmaceutical partner to operationalise LABEL and build a product-market fit for pharmaceutical companies & the management of clinical trial recruiting.

The long-term vision for your start-up: IMAGEENS aims to become Europe’s leader in the valorisation of medical imaging data.

 

Clinical Trials Mobile Application

Your solution to the challenge: CT-SCOUT is a digital solution demonstrated to enhance recruitment in clinical trials. The technology is based on an algorithm that allows the detection of patients potentially eligible in less than 2 minutes. It is available on multiple devices, including mobile, and is best used in a F2F situation with the patient, either during a consultation or a ward visit.

What makes it a good fit? Enhancing the efficiency of the recruitment phase of a clinical trial is core to the challenge raised by Amgen. Although the value of our application has so far been demonstrated in one disease area only, there is no reason to believe that such a demonstration could not be replicated across a range of other disease/therapy areas as the underlying issues are the same.

Major expectations from the programme: The CTMA team is very interested in the EIT Health entrepreneurship program since this will prepare us to raise funds and access to the network. Also, we would be thrilled to raise awareness about CT-SCOUT beyond our current constituency (the IBD world) and work collaboratively with Amgen on a pilot project in Oncology.

The long-term vision for your start-up: Our ambition is to become the partner of choice for clinical trial sponsors seeking assistance to enhance the efficiency of the recruitment phase of clinical trials, hence allowing patients better access to alternative therapeutic regimens. To achieve this, we need to expand to new therapy areas where we can replicate our value demonstration. We are also engaged in the development of an app designed for patients using similar technology, and which will complement our investigator’s app CT-SCOUT.

 

CODOC

Your solution to the challenge: An end-to-end platform enabling hospitals to generate RWE and valorise it towards life science companies.

What makes it a good fit? Our platform is already deployed in 15 hospitals in France, cited in 40+ clinical publications and used daily by medical doctors and research teams to deliver accurate inclusion potential, ensure relevant patient screening and deliver fast retrospective studies leveraging our medical AI and NLP capabilities.

Major expectations from the programme: Network and learn from Amgen professionals, build an impactful business case that boosts Amgen feasibility studies and retrospective data analysis from hospitals, and co-create our product with the client as we have done with hospitals and as is our DNA.

The long-term vision for your start-up: Accelerate the Research-to-Care feedback loop by empowering medical practitioners in hospitals with actionable real-world evidence.