Rare Daily Staff
AI-driven rare disease drug developer Healx said it is accepting applications for its Rare Treatment Accelerator, its program focused on finding new treatments for rare diseases by partnering with rare disease patient groups to accelerate drug repurposing.
Healx said it will invest up to $1 million in value in AI and drug discovery resources per disease project, out of a total budget of $20 million. The company also announced Bruce Bloom, the company’s chief collaboration officer will lead the program.
Bloom joined Healx after serving as founder, president, and chief scientific officer of Cures Within Reach. He will be charged with overseeing Healx’s existing collaborations and seeking out new global partnership opportunities with a wide range of organizations, including rare disease patient groups, research institutions, investigators, and clinical groups.
“In today’s world, prioritizing patient needs is vital. This is what attracted me to Healx,” said Bloom. “Ninety-five percent of rare diseases, afflicting 400 million people worldwide, currently do not have approved treatments and Healx’s Rare Treatment Accelerator program provides great promise to significantly reducing this number, in part by expediting the often-lengthy drug discovery process.”
Healx said partnerships are “fundamental” to its mission to accelerate the translation of repurposed therapies towards the clinic. The company’s said its Healnet AI platform, combined with the expertise of its in-house drug discovery team and rare disease knowledge and skills offered by their partners, has allowed Healx to progress projects from treatment prediction stage towards clinical trial phase in a timeframe of 24 months.
The company has been working with a number of patient groups since 2014, including its partnership with the FRAXA Research Foundation to develop new treatments for fragile X syndrome, the leading genetic cause of autism. A clinical study with its drug candidates for this indication is planned for the first quarter of 2020, underlining the speed at which Healx’s AI approach can accelerate candidates into human clinical trials.
Healx launched the Rare Treatment Accelerator last month following the close a $56 million financing round.
“Bruce has been involved with Healx as a scientific advisor since the early stages,” said Tim Guilliams, Healx co-founder and CEO. “He has witnessed our progress as we built up our knowledge base and generated a robust pipeline of rare disease assets across a number of therapeutic areas. His values absolutely align with our patient-first vision to provide affordable, effective treatments to as many rare disease patients as possible.”
Photo: Bruce Bloom, chief collaboration officer for Healx