Owkin launches global patient data sharing network for training AIs

Owkin has unveiled what it describes as the world’s largest network for artificial intelligence-based medical research, encompassing over 40 institutions from the U.S. and France.

The Loop Network allows researchers to train their predictive models on real-world clinical data at scale and share their work collectively with partner hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. The company hopes its machine learning algorithms can help spot biomarker patterns in genomic data, image libraries and patient records.

“Access to patient data is critical for improving medical research,” said Thomas Clozel, Owkin co-founder and CEO. “But the current patient data brokerage system hinders knowledge-sharing and risks patient data privacy, resulting in knowledge silos at individual hospitals.”

“We founded Owkin to efficiently and intelligently transform hospital-level clinical data into predictive models,” Clozel added. “If we can transform the world’s clinical data into broadly accessible research knowledge, we believe we can fundamentally advance medical research and have an incredibly powerful impact on solving the most important medical challenges.”

The network’s partners include the Cleveland Clinic health system in the U.S., plus the Institut Curie, Centre Léon Bérard and Groupe AP-HP in France, as well as Inserm, the French national medical research institute.

Its initial projects include training an AI model to identify new biomarkers in mesothelioma; analyzing brain age from an MRI scan; and predicting gene expression from slide images, to gauge responses to immunotherapy.

According to Françoise Galateau-Sallé, principal investigator at Centre Léon Bérard, Owkin’s AI algorithms and models helped identify a new subgroup of patients with mesothelioma, who respond poorly to the current standard of care and may be good candidates for immunotherapy.

Earlier this year, the New York-based Owkin raised about $16 million through a series A funding round led by Otium Venture. In addition, Owkin previously inked deals with the biopharmas Amgen and Actelion to apply its technology to clinical trial optimization and real-world data analysis.

Correction: A previous version of this story listed Mount Sinai Health System as a network member, though this has not been finalized.