Bayer teams up with AI firm Sensyne Health to mine NHS data for its heart disease pipeline

Sensyne serves as a buffer between the National Health Service's patient data and potential commercial interests, keeping the information anonymized while providing answers to research questions. (Bayer)

Bayer tapped Sensyne Health to sift through patient data from the U.K. National Health Service (NHS), mine it for insights using its artificial intelligence platforms and apply the findings to its cardiovascular disease pipeline.

Based in Oxford, U.K., Sensyne takes anonymized patient information—including genomic sequencing data and real-world evidence gathered from digital therapeutics and vital sign trackers—to help design clinical studies and fuel drug discovery research.

Bayer is ponying up £5 million ($6.1 million) for the first two years of the collaboration, which includes options for later expansion. The deal is Sensyne’s first major drug development agreement since it went public on the London Stock Exchange last year.

In addition, Sensyne’s partners among the NHS trusts will receive a 4% share of all revenues derived from the collaboration alongside their existing holdings in the company.

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Sensyne acts as a self-described “docking station” that controls the flow of anonymized patient data between the NHS’ repository and potential commercial interests, with no information being sold or transferred to any third party. This buffer helps ensure compliance with NHS principles, regulatory guidance and European data protection laws while also providing analyses that can answer research questions.

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Sensyne has signed data sharing and research agreements with several regional NHS trusts, including Oxford University Hospitals. In return for equity investments and access to consented data, the health systems benefit from royalties generated from the results. Formerly known as Drayson Health, Sensyne is led by healthcare entrepreneur Lord Paul Drayson, who previously served as the U.K.’s science minister.

In a statement, Drayson described cardiovascular disease as a clinical priority for the NHS. The service has declared it one of the leading conditions where clinical improvements can save lives over the next decade, with heart disease currently being responsible for 1 in 4 premature deaths.