well doneThe Pistoia Alliance, a global, not for profit alliance that works to lower barriers to innovation in life sciences R&D, today announced the winners of its 2017 President’s Startup Challenge. The grand prize winner, selected by a panel of seven industry judges, is Medley Genomics. The audience vote winner, chosen by The Pistoia Alliance’s members, is Transformative AI. The two startups were chosen from five finalists, shortlisted from 20 challenge entries from the US, Europe and India, following a live ‘Shark Tank’ pitching event at The Pistoia Alliance’s 2017 member conference in Boston. Both Medley Genomics and Transformative AI will receive an award of $20,000 and six months one-to-one mentorship from a Pistoia Alliance member; in addition to one year’s access to Elsevier’s R&D Solutions portfolio, and to Clarivate Analytics’ life-science assets. All five finalists receive a $5,000 award and one year’s free membership to The Pistoia Alliance.

Medley Genomics is a US startup dedicated to addressing the challenges of genomic heterogeneity in the diagnosis and treatment of complex diseases – with an initial focus on cancer. Through advanced data analytics of molecular sequencing data, Medley Genomics seeks to better inform initial therapeutic decisions, including combination therapies, resulting in significant benefit in patient outcomes.

Transformative AI is a UK startup that uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and novel analysis techniques also employed at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The team’s mission is to transform the treatment of serious medical conditions by collecting and translating clinical data into real-time, predictive assessments that will guide the actions of patients and healthcare providers.

“I congratulate Medley Genomics and Transformative AI on their wins – two dynamic startups in the field of data analytics, deep learning and AI. Both teams pitched innovative solutions that will ultimately lead to better patient outcomes, through the pioneering application of advanced technology,” commented Dr Steve Arlington, President of the Pistoia Alliance. “All five finalists of this year’s President’s Challenge are examples of the exciting, inventive mindset that is a vital feature of the life sciences sector. As pharmaceutical and healthcare companies struggle to make use of the deluge of data flooding the industry, startups such as these will be critical in helping to unlock the value of data that leads to breakthrough discoveries and precision therapies for patients.”

The other three President’s Startup Challenge finalists were:

Cubuslab – a German startup aiming to improve lab processes by removing the need for manual data transfer through digitalizing workflows, introducing remote control of lab devices, and monitoring data in real time.

InSilicoTrials – a UK startup providing the first web platform for in silico trials; supporting computational simulations for drug discovery and development, medical device development and regulatory approval, and HTA assessment.

Phenomic AI – a Canadian startup developing deep learning based algorithms for analyzing high content microscopy and bioimage data, enabling rapid and accurate profiling of single cells in microscopy images.

The President’s Startup Challenge is an annual award that rewards the innovators transforming life sciences and healthcare. It took place at the 2017 conference for The Pistoia Alliance’s members; the theme for which was the ‘Lab of the Future’. The distinction between labs, clinics, ambulatory care and hospitals is diminishing as technology blurs the boundaries. The conference featured speakers from Gartner, Bristol-Myers Squibb, ThermoFisher Scientific, TetraScience and Intel – exploring how the loop is being closed between clinical outcomes data and research data. Panel discussions also debated scientific advances such as the ‘lab-on-a-chip’, or even the’ human-on-a-chip’, that bring research infrastructure closer to the patient with far quicker turnaround times.