Quris is an Israeli company (it is also based in Boston, US) betting that Artificial Intelligence can help to dramatically shorten the time to move drugs to clinical stage.
Most drugs fail the clinical trials (up to 89% fail, according to Quris): if we think that the overall cost is in the order of trillion $ over a decade (that is the average period of testing for new drugs) the promise to focus on the most promising ones is obvious. More than that. The shortening of clinical trials would make effective drugs available sooner with obvious benefit to all of us.
Quris AI is using “patient-on-chip” technology (basically bio-chips using fluidics to assess the reactions of several organs to a given drug – watch the clip for the latest research in this area, called body-on-a-chip). The organs are created on the chip using stem cells evolved to mimic the different types of cells in various organs. Tiny pipes connect the various organs on the chip circulating both the drug and the metabolite produced by the different cells as response to the drug.
The effect of the drug on the various cells is monitored by sensors on the chip that provide the data used by Quris AI for the analyses. The flow of data contributes to a continuous machine learning which is ultimately providing the assessment of the effect of the drug. The data are also analysed with respect to a genomic diversity of DNA data specific to different ethnic groups. Additionally, the machine learning makes use of the growing literature in genomic, drugs and illnesses.
Interestingly, the first Quris focus has been, still is, on the Fragile-X Syndrome, associated to inherited autisms and intellectual disabilities, a 200M$ market worldwide. This is very significant, since it shows the potential of this approach to address pathologies that are almost impossibile to tackle using the the classical approach given the relatively low number of cases.