Cambridge data company Qureight raises £1.5m seed funding to speed up clinical trials
Cambridge data company Qureight has raised £1.5million in seed funding to develop what is described as the world’s only AI-powered platform dedicated to complex diseases.
The technology has the potential to reduce dramatically the costs of bringing life-saving drugs to the market and shorten clinical trials.
Qureight - a play on the word curate - is led by CEO Dr Muhunthan Thillai, who is also a lung specialist at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, while its chief scientific officer is Dr Alessandro Ruggiero, who is also a radiology consultant in the city.
Its vision is to house the world’s largest collection of data from complex diseases.
Using proprietary technology, its platform enables scientists to track disease progression and drug response in patients with complex diseases. This helps to develop unique biomarkers for use in clinical trials.
With the £200million-plus cost of each phase III pharmaceutical study into a complex disease, the potential of the technology to improve the efficiency of clinical trials has proved of interest to investors, with Playfair Capital leading the round and participation from Life Sciences funds Meltwind, Ascension and Cambridge Angels.
The company’s seed funding also comes in the week it is named in the #21toWatch awards shortlist, as we report this week.
One of Qureight’s first targets is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a condition in which the lungs become scarred and breathing becomes increasingly difficult.
The company says last year it was the first in Europe to integrate complex data sets and software algorithms exploring lung scarring in Covid-19 patients.
The pioneering work showed changes in blood distribution within the lungs during Covid infection may partly explain why patients have such low blood oxygen levels. The finding could help lead to new methods of treating Covid patients by targeting the lung’s blood supply.
Dr Thillai demonstrated at the recent European Respiratory Society International Congress in Madrid that automated image analysis from CT scans of the lungs, along with clinical data, can be used to track the progression of patients with lung scarring as the condition gets worse and the disease progresses.
“Existing treatments for lung fibrosis are costly and clinical trials to find new drugs are often very large – needing many patients to look for an outcome,” he said.
“Qureight's platform technology will allow biopharma companies to recruit fewer patients for clinical trials and more precisely target the right kind of patients – saving money and producing better outcomes with a personalised approach to drug development.”
The platform is designed to enable companies to manage, curate and post-process clinical data in one place.
Users can upload imaging and biomarker data, and transform clinical information into structured task-ready data. Proprietary tools are used for analysis and AI software solutions can be deployed for modelling.
Qureight, based in Nine Hills Road, already has other targets lined up.
Dr Ruggiero explained: “Our next targets are pulmonary hypertension and adverse drug effects in complex lung cancer patients. This funding will allow us to use our platform to work with our biopharma partners to accelerate drug development in these areas.”
Playfair Capital investor Jeevan Sunner said: “The world-leading clinical expertise of co- founders Dr Thillai and Dr Ruggiero has been crucial in Qureight's development of the world's only AI-powered platform dedicated to complex diseases.
“The technology offers an unrivalled integrated and secure solution for managing, analysing and sharing clinical data – and is set to transform the structuring of clinical trials and eventually the treatment of patients.”