PMWC caught up with Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of Insilico Medicine, the winner of PMWC’s 2015 Most Promising Company Competition to get an update on the company’s progress and tease out some advice for this year’s Company Showcase Competition contenders.

Alex told us that PMWC Silicon Valley 2015 was a landmark event in the company’s history and allowed their team to believe in themselves because it was a positive first test of investor appetite. Today, Alex looks at Insilico as the “Bell Labs for AI in healthcare” with more than 200 different projects that they are taking to proof of concept and then either licensing out or creating joint ventures around.

Company Update Highlights:

  • Hired the top deep learning talent all over the world through hackathons and then trained them in bioinformatics.
  • Launched several biomarkers developed using a new approach to AI, discovered a range of targets and molecules that are going through validation. Partnered with Life Extension, which launched two Insilico nutraceutical products. Currently capturing the effectiveness of these nutraceuticals using a system called Young.AI, available online. Over 65,000 people worldwide bought the nutraceuticals in first six months since launch.
  • In 2017, NVIDIA selected Insilico Medicine as one of the Top 5 AI companies based on potential for social impact.
  • Breakthrough at the end of 2015. Began using a new technique in deep learning first proposed by Ian Goodfellow,called Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) that allows “imagining” new objects with a specific set of characteristics. Coupled that with “reinforcement learning”, the technique used by Deep Mind to defeat the Go champion, to generate novel molecular structures with a desired set of characteristics.
  • Published the first proofs of concept and quickly became popular in the pharma world.
  • At JP Morgan 2016, met with top biotech investors and pharma executives. Met partners of Jim Mellon, the “British Warren Buffett”, who invested in Insilico and formed a separate company with Greg Bailey, who recently sold Medivation for $14.5 billion, and Declan Doogan, developer of Zoloft, Lipitor and Viagra. This all-star team is now developing molecules for age-related diseases generated entirely using AI.
  • This same team led the most recent round of funding.
  • Expanded into Asia with R&D centers in Taiwan, Republic of China and Hong Kong,as well as a JV in Korea, with a focus on cosmetics applications. Working on expanding into China.
Q: Everyone is talking about the China’s big push into AI. What is happening in China?

 

A: China is the new Silicon Valley and the new frontier in human development. Everyone I know there is working on a startup. There is abundant capital to fuel growth and the large corporations are open to collaboration. Even some of the Big Pharma country heads in China are more innovative and have more freedom to operate than their counterparts in the open innovation departments at headquarters

In China people have a very different attitude toward personal data. For instance, when you buy a SIM card a picture is taken of you with your passport open. This really propels innovation much faster than in other geographies. The availability of large data sets and the freedom to work with the data also ignites innovation there. Tencent, the company that runs WeChat, Alibaba, Baidu, WuXi, BGI, is pushing very hard into AI with all the companies.  And if AI is the new combustion engine and the data is the new electricity, China is the new epicenter of a data-driven economy.

However, the problem they will be facing soon is population specificity with some of the biomarkers and biological targets. When you use only Chinese data to build your predictors, classifiers and generators the systems will be very biased and may not work in European and other populations.

One of the technologies that will help Chinese companies as well as the rest of the world access human health data in a very ethical and secure way is blockchain. And it turns out that some of our projects in AI can help with that.

I am very happy to see that Chinese AI companies are among the participants of PMWC Silicon Valley 2018 and we are very much looking forward to establishing fruitful collaborations.

Q: To be the leader in AI you need a lot of data. You mentioned blockchain as one of the potential enablers of secure and efficient data acquisition. Can you elaborate?

 

A: Blockchain is a distributed ledger technology which can be used to enable individuals to take control of their life data. Currently there is a disconnect between individuals, medical institutions, laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and regulators. This disconnect is resulting in unnecessary regulatory barriers. Also individuals often don’t know what data they have, how useful it is and they don’t have the ability to sell or license their data to companies.

Our AI can show them how valuable their various types of data is– individually and in combination and in time. We published a seminar paper on this subject. We also partnered with one of the largest companies in blockchain technology called BitFury Group, which helps put entire governments on blockchain to develop the “Internet of human life data”. We formed a subsidiary called Longenesis, Limited, to unlock the value of multi-omics data and allow companies and researchers to gain access to the vast amounts of data from various population groups internationally.

We are also planning to introduce a new crypto token called LifePound which will allow people to profit from their data in more ways than was previously imaginable. In theory, governments be will able to introduce a universal basic income to people who regularly provide their life data for research purposes while encouraging them to pursue healthy lifestyles.

Longenesis may be one of the highest-impact projects in our portfolio. We already have the working prototype running on BitFury’s Exonum blockchaiin platform and data verification, quality control, trust rating and authentication system. It uses our deep learning systems and a small team is in Hong Kong working on the Longenesis “Life on Blockchain” pilot. We are presenting this system at conferences throughout Africa such as in Nigeria, South Africa, and Botswana to ensure that they are the early adopters when we launch. Africa may become the next “Saudi Arabia” of data and we may be able to improve millions of lives by empowering the people to take control of their life data, their health while gaining access to the most disruptive technologies: AI, blockchain and longevity biotechnology.

Q: At PMWC 2015 you were focused on aging research. Did your focus shift?

A: Absolutely not. Our bet on aging research really paid off. We treat aging as a disease that every living creature has and chronological age as the stage of this disease. When you train the deep neural networks to predict age using different data types: Pictures, blood tests, tissue-specific transcriptomes, proteomes, imaging data, microbiome, voice, videos, wearable data and even data from the electronic nose (a device that identifies the specific components of an odor and analyzes its chemical makeup to identify it), the Deep Neural Networks capture the most biologically-relevant features and you can integrate multi-omics data. You can later extract the most important features and use them as targets, or re-train the DNNs on the various diseases, when only a limited number of samples are available. We understand that a person today is different from the same person tomorrow. Essentially we are our age. During aging we change at every level. We now realize that age is probably the most important and universal feature every living being has. I already explained why age is important for training the Deep Neural Networks to predict age on multi-modal data and to developing biomarkers, and to understanding the population specificity of biomarkers, for example. When people think about personalized medicine, they think about the differences between people. But when you think about the same person at a different age as a different person, you get much more value from the data and understand the value of the various data types. A very simple example of this is cancer immune therapy. The person may respond very well to checkpoint inhibitors in his 50s and 60s, but may not respond to the same therapy in his 70s and 80s, due to immune senescence and changes in many other systems.

Even the blockchain projects at Insilico utilize aging research for life data quality control, authentication, and verification as well as for reconstruction of incomplete data sets. Age is the most important feature for us and we want to track it at every level. We regularly run hackathons at AgeNet.Net and other resources to build the predictors of both chronological and biological age using any data type. We also helped conceive MouseAge.org to do the same in mice and hopefully, in other animals. We want to see aging, feel aging, smell aging and build a virtual model of aging to be able to understand the effects of aging on disease.

Q: What are your long-term plans as a company, say 10 years out?

A: Our very long term plan is to achieve excellence in AI for longevity and to refocus from treatment to prevention. Think aging without losing. Ultimately we would like to make humans more resistant to age-associated changes and to changes in the environment. Making humans more age-resistant, radiation-resistant and infectious disease-resistant is the long term goal of the company.

Q: Do you have any advice for the 2018 PMWC contenders?

A: The jury is comprised of professional VCs. VCs like to hear about the technology, the business model, and the team as well as the go-to-market strategy. So it is really a straight forward VC pitch. PMWC Silicon Valley 2018 will be the highlight of a very transformative year in human history. And it looks like everyone in AI for healthcare will be there. If you’re interested in AI, you should be there and invite your friends to attend.

Late breaking: Dawn Barry leaves Illumina to lead Luna DNA -Blockchain Disrupting Healthcare Industry

“Every individual holds a valuable piece of the puzzle to understand disease and health, and researchers are all in need of more data. Discovery is hindered by putting the majority of data into small silos. Breaking down data silos and bringing individuals together will more quickly aggregate enough samples to rise above the complexity of genomics and identify disease candidates.” – Dawn Barry, President and Co-Founder, Luna DNA

Read More

Interview Dawn Barry the new President and Co-founder of Luna DNA

Q: In a sentence, what is Luna DNA going to do?

Read More

JPM18: Edico Genome, Illumina, Invitae, Regeneron, Thermo Fisher Scientific,… and the list goes on

It’s been an announcement-packed JPMorgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco this week!

Read More

At PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley CMS Administrator Seema Verma Discusses the Future of Health Care

Genomics-based testing or new immunotherapies that revolutionize cancer care are changing how we approach disease…

Read More

Interview with Dr. Frank Lee, Global Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry Leader at IBM; Chief Architect, IBM Reference Architecture for Genomics – Speaker at PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley

Q: As a pioneer in high performance architectures for genomic research what are the biggest challenges that you see clients dealing with as they invest in precision medicine initiatives?

Read More

Q&A with Ira Mellman, PhD, Vice President, Cancer Immunology, Genentech – Speaker at PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley

Q: Immunotherapy is considered a huge game-changer and holds a lot of promises. Is the hype around immunotherapy justified? What are some of the exciting developments in the recent years?

Read More

Interview with Atul Sharan, Co-founder and CEO, CellMax Life

Q: CellMax has developed non-invasive blood tests based on Circulating tumor cells CTC. How do you see these tests being adopted clinically?

Read More

Q&A with Matthew Kane, Co-founder & CEO, Precision BioSciences – Speaker at PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley

Q: What are the benefits of the Precision BioSciences’ ARCUS genome editing platform and what makes it unique?

Read More

Q&A with Jon Heimer, CEO, Olink Proteomics – Speaker at PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley

Q: Olink has been rapidly growing its’ library of human protein biomarker assays. What are the popular clinical applications for your biomarker panels?

Read More

2017 Review: A Clear Paradigm Shift from a one-size-fits-all model to personalized healthcare

2017 saw technology innovations, new therapies and diagnostics, value-based healthcare, and clinical protocol advancements as huge drivers, moving the needle…

Read More

Q&A with Peter Donnelly, Director, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (Oxford) – Speaker at PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley

Q: How will genomics transform healthcare and how will it impact medicine? Beyond genetics and genomics what other data is relevant and why?

Read More

PMWC Interview with Janusz Dutkowski, Ph.D., Co-founder & CEO, Data4Cure – Speaker at PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley

Q: What are some of the key unique ideas behind the Biomedical Intelligence Cloud? What contextual knowledge do you bring in?

Read More

Q&A with Bob Terbrueggen, President & CEO, DxTerity – Speaker at PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley

Q: What are the challenges that the field of genomic research will face in the next five years?

Read More

Q&A with Mark Kiel, CSO and Co-founder, Genomenon – Speaker at PMWC 2018 Silicon Valley

Q: What are the challenges facing clinical interpretation of NGS data today?

Read More

Precision Medicine Jan 22-24th – learn from the experts at PMWC Silicon Valley 2018

Genomic Data Analysis / Next-Gen Sequencing, Immunotherapy / Cancer Care, & Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning are all extensively covered at the conference, January 22-24

Read More
University of Michigan

About us:
The Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), in its 13th installment, will take place in Silicon Valley on January 22-24, 2018. The program will traverse innovative technologies, thriving initiatives, and clinical case studies that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in health care. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest developments and advancements in precision medicine and cutting-edge new strategies and solutions that are changing how patients are treated.

Agenda highlights:

    • More than 70 sessions with 350+ thought-provoking, insightful talks that cover all facets of precision medicine
    • Four tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
    • Immuno-oncology
    • Cancer and rare disease diagnostics
    • Biomarker and companion diagnostics
    • Big data approaches
    • NGS applications
    • AI and machine learning applications
    • Advancements in liquid biopsy applications
    • Wellness & Aging
    • CRISPR
    • The human microbiome
    • Infectious disease ID and monitoring
    • The importance of patient engagement
    • 3-D technologies
    • Updates on data and regulatory policies
    • Metabolomics in precision medicine
    • mHealth and Telehealth

About us:
The Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), in its 13th installment, will take place in Silicon Valley on January 22-24, 2018. The program will traverse innovative technologies, thriving initiatives, and clinical case studies that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in health care. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest developments and advancements in precision medicine and cutting-edge new strategies and solutions that are changing how patients are treated.

Agenda highlights:

    • More than 70 sessions with 350+ thought-provoking, insightful talks that cover all facets of precision medicine
    • Four tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
        • Immuno-oncology
        • Cancer and rare disease diagnostics
        • Biomarker and companion diagnostics
        • Big data approaches
        • NGS applications
        • AI and machine learning applications
        • Advancements in liquid biopsy applications
        • Wellness & Aging
        • CRISPR
        • The human microbiome
        • Infectious disease identification and monitoring
        • The importance of patient engagement
        • 3-D technologies
        • Updates on data and regulatory policies
        • Metabolomics in precision medicine
        • mHealth and Telehealth

One track will be dedicated to the various aspects of the All of Us Research Program, while another session will focus on educating California’s legislators.

 

Confirmed thought leaders include:

Sir John Bell

Sir John Bell

Regius Professor of Medicine, Oxford University

sally-davies

Dame Sally Davies

Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, UK Government

BLA00002-Elizabeth-Blackburn

Elizabeth Blackburn

Nobel Laureate, President, Salk Institute for Biological Studies

George-Sledge

George Sledge

Professor, Division Chief, Stanford University Medical Center

Jeffrey Bluestone

Jeffrey Bluestone

CEO and President, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Christopher Ianelli

Christopher Ianelli

Founder and Chief Executive Officer,  iSpecimen

Kenneth J. Pienta

Kenneth J. Pienta

Director, Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Roy Beveridge

Roy Beveridge

Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Humana

Kimberly Blackwell

Kimberly Blackwell

Professor of Medicine, Assistant Prof. of Radiation Oncology, Duke Cancer Institute

Joshua Denny

Joshua Denny

Professor of Biomedical Informatics & Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Edward S. Kim

Edward S. Kim

Chair, Solid Tumor and Investigational Therapeutics, Levine Cancer Institute

Howard L. McLeod

Howard L. McLeod

Medical Director, Personalized Medicine Institute, Moffitt Cancer Center

Lee Newcomer

Lee Newcomer

SVP, UnitedHealthcare Oncology and Genetics

Vinod Khosla

Vinod Khosla

Partner and Founder of Khosla Ventures

Troy Brennan

Troy Brennan

Executive VP & CMO, CVS Health

Ira Mellman

Ira Mellman

VP, Cancer Immunology, Genentech

Event Highlights

When
January 22, 2018 8:00am to January 24, 2018 5:00pm
Where
Computer History Museum
1401 N Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA 94043
Cost
$1850 by January 19th, 2018
Registration
3-Day Access to Talks, Exhibition & Reception:
See Registration Details

Registration: PMWC Conferences

Silicon Valley Jan 22-24, 2018

65+ Sessions 4 Tracks
350+ Speaker lineup
Access to the exhibition
Breakfast & lunch refreshments
Networking App
Award Reception

Having Trouble Registering? We accept all major credit cards. Select 'PayPal Check out' and press 'Pay with Debit or Credit Card'.
Click here or call (650)-961-8877 to contact the PMWC Team for Help.