Quris Planning AI-powered Clinical Trial in 2022

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by Patricia Inacio PhD |

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A candidate therapy for fragile X syndrome — developed using Quris’ bio-artificial intelligence clinical prediction platform — will enter clinical trials in 2022, the company announced.

Quris is using the power of artificial intelligence (AI)  combined with a “patients-on-a-chip” platform to predict the safety and potential effectiveness of therapeutic candidates before they are used in human trials.

“We are at the tipping point of the modernization of drug discovery. I think the Quris platform could be of significant value to pharma companies and the health of society at large,” Robert S. Langer, co-founder of Moderna, said in a press release. Langer serves on the scientific advisory board of Quris.

This approach, according to Quris, bypasses the need for animal models that fail to reproduce the features of human diseases and is expected to reduce both the risks and costs associated with failed clinical trials.

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“Put simply: We are not mice so what works in animal-based trials is not a proper indicator of what will work for people,” added Aaron Ciechanover, MD, and a Nobel laureate. “Using a breakthrough way to test drug candidates on miniaturized patients on chips, Quris can demonstrate their safety and efficacy, or lack thereof, through preliminary chip-based clinical trials. This has never been done before, and Quris is charting the path.”

Quris CEO Isaac Bentwich, MD, said “Intensely competitive and wildly expensive, AI-driven drug discovery has become the leading frontier for pharma innovation. But while AI applications in pharma have surged, a core piece needed to solve the drug discovery puzzle has been missing and most novel drugs still fail clinical trials — costing pharma companies more than $30 billion annually.”

“Quris is the first AI platform to predict which drug candidates will safely work in humans, filling a critical gap in clinical prediction,” Bentwich added.

Quris’ Patients-on-a-Chip platform is the ultimate preclinical stage before actual clinical trials in humans. For each particular disease, researchers use induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) collected from patients to generate “patient-derived organs” or “patients on a chip” in the lab (in vitro). These in vitro platforms then are used to assess the safety and potential of candidate therapies.

IPSCs are derived from either skin or blood cells that have been reprogrammed back into a stem cell-like state, which allows for the development of an unlimited source of almost any type of human cell.

Quris is using the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute’s stem-cell automation technology to develop an automated self-training AI platform that can better predict potential therapeutic candidates’ safety and efficacy.

“We are at the cusp of a complete paradigm shift in drug testing and development,” said Susan L. Solomon, founder and CEO of the NYSCF Research Institute.

“Our team of scientists is excited about the collaboration with Quris, which leverages a powerful synergy between our stem-cell automation technology with Quris’ impressive AI-Chip-on-Chip technology platform and team, to better predict clinical safety of drugs for individual patients,” Solomon added. Solomon is joining Quris advisory board.

Quris also has announced a $9 million seed round of funding led by Judith Richter, PhD, and Kobi Richter, PhD, co-founders of Medinol, with participation from Moshe Yanai, an Israeli entrepreneur, and strategic angel investors.