GNS Healthcare Lands $6M to Further Develop REFS Platform

August 24, 2017
GNS Healthcare Lands $6M to Further Develop REFS Platform
GNS Healthcare has raised $6 million from Amgen Ventures, with participation from Alexandria Real Estate Equities, toward developing REFS™ causal machine learning and simulation AI platform for personalized medicine. [Source: © Kirill_M/Fotolia]

GNS Healthcare, a provider of analytic solutions to pharmaceutical and health plan customers, said it has raised an additional $6 million in equity toward further development of its Reverse Engineering & Forward Simulation (REFS) causal machine learning and simulation platform and solutions.

The equity was raised from Amgen Ventures, Amgen’s corporate venture capital fund focused on investing in emerging biotechnology companies, with participation from existing investor Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

GNS says its cloud-based technologies are based on REFS and its MeasureBase data integration architecture, and focus on reducing adverse events, slowing disease progression, and improving therapeutic effectiveness through precision matching.

REFS will be developed, GNS says, to address drug discovery & development, as well as value-based drug solutions, care management, and health system business optimization.

REFS analyzes multi-model datasets to reverse-engineer causative mechanisms, then carries out “what if?” simulations to determine treatments and therapeutics most likely to produce the best outcomes for individuals.

The platform is based on the mathematics of Bayesian network inference as well as global optimization, for which Judea Pearl of the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2012 won the Association for Computing Machinery’s Turing Award, dubbed the “Nobel Prize in Computing.” In addition to Dr. Pearl’s work, GNS technology draws upon work by theoretical biologist and physician Stuart Kauffman, M.D., a five-time MacArthur “Genius” Award winner and holder of the Ballivet-Kauffman Patent in the area of applied molecular evolution or “molecular diversity.”

According to GNS, REFS is designed to analyze data sets beyond finding correlations; REFS can infer causes from patient data in order to answer questions that include: How will the patient respond to this treatment? What if we choose one intervention over another?

GNS customers include health plans, biopharmas, healthcare providers, foundations, academic medical centers, and self-insured employers. Those customers, the company says, are interested in tackling challenges that include metabolic syndrome, medication adherence, end-of-life care, preterm birth, personalized care pathways in specialty care, oncology, and diabetes, new drug target discovery, patient stratification in clinical trials.

“We are witnessing an acceleration in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning across all industries with GNS leading the way in the life sciences and healthcare industries with data from tens of millions of lives being processed by our platforms,” Colin Hill, GNS chairman, CEO, and co-founder said in a statement. “This is the path to better matching drugs and other health interventions to individual patients to improve health outcomes, slow disease progression, and lower the total cost of care.”

Amgen Ventures will become a GNS shareholder, joining drug developers Celgene and Zambon Pharmaceuticals, health plans Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield (Cambia Health Solutions) and Horizon Blue Cross of New Jersey, Heritage Provider Network, Mitsui, GHO Capital, and Fort Rock Capital.

The latest equity financing brings to just more than $49 million the total amount raised by GNS, according to Crunchbase. Most recently, GNS completed a $10 million Series C financing in 2015.

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