02 February 2015

Russian bioinformatics for an American company

Investors appreciated the Russian development of personal selection of medicines


Insilico Medicine, whose co-founders include Russians, was recognized as the most promising at the world's largest conference on personalized medicine PMWC-2015.

This was announced on his Facebook account by the head of the company Alex Zhavoronkov, associate professor at MIPT.

Insilico Medicine was awarded in the Health tech/IT category for developing a software platform for personal drug selection. There were two nominations in total at the conference, and the jury consisted of the most famous venture capitalists in the field of biotechnology, including Roche Venture Fund, Johnson & Johnson, Kaiser Permanente Ventures and GE Ventures.

Companies from 25 countries working in various fields of medicine were represented at the conference. They are united by taking into account the personal characteristics of the patient's body during diagnosis or treatment. Gelena Livshits, senior project manager of the biomedical cluster of the Skolkovo Foundation, told TASS that compact diagnostic devices became a trend at PMWC-2015. For example, prototypes of matchbox-sized devices capable of decoding the human genome and detecting mutations in its DNA were demonstrated. Wearable sensors for monitoring human temperature and blood parameters were also demonstrated, some of them are implanted under the skin. Sensor data is transmitted to the patient's or doctor's smartphone.

"The main goal of our international team is to defeat the deadly disease that each of us suffers from – aging. But our platform has also proved useful for clinical oncologists who want to choose the best treatment protocol for their patient, and pharmaceutical companies who want to reduce risks when developing new drugs and evaluate the likely effectiveness of already known drugs in various age-dependent diseases," Zhavoronkov told <url>.

Insilico Medicine was founded by Canadian Alexander Zhavoronkov, Russians Anton Buzdin and Nikolai Borisov in 2014 and is engaged in the fight against aging. Now the company is registered in the USA and has received investments from the Hong Kong venture fund Deep Knowledge Ventures. When selecting drugs, the level of gene expression in individual tissues and other individual characteristics of the patient are taken into account. PONCC, the Russian development division of Insilico Medicine, has developed the OncoFinder program to compare the expression of tumor genes of a particular patient with normal gene expression. The analysis allows us to identify the individual characteristics of the tumor at the molecular level and select the most effective drug. At the same time, the startup is reorienting existing medicines to combat various age-dependent diseases and old age in general.

"We predicted the success of Insilico Medicine a year ago and have already made good money on it. But the level of interest from the venture divisions of pharmaceutical companies, which we saw at the JP Morgan and PMWC conferences in January, gives us and our Chinese colleagues confidence that the company has a billion–dollar future and it is worth developing it," Lente expressed his opinion.<url>" Dmitry Kaminsky, Senior Partner at Deep Knowledge Ventures.

Zhavoronkov believes that success at the international conference will help the company to receive the first grants in Russia. Although the company is a resident of Skolkovo, it has not yet been able to receive funding from this organization.

Currently, Insilico Medicine and PONCC employ scientists from Russia, Poland, the USA, Switzerland, Germany and Hong Kong, and its scientific council includes Nobel laureate Michael Levitt, head of the Laboratory of Genetics of Life Expectancy and Aging at MIPT Alexey Moskalev, Director of pediatric Oncology at Johns Hopkins University Donald Small and head of the Human Genome program of the department U.S. Energy Charles Kantor.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru02.02.2015

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