Alphabet's investment arm funnels $7M into startup using AI to improve medical research

GV, the venture capital arm of Google's parent company Alphabet, recently joined Owkin's Series A funding round, building on an initial funding round the artificial intelligence startup closed in January.

Owkin applies machine learning — a type of AI that learns over time, rather than having to be programmed like typical software — to integrate biomedical images, genomics data and clinical information. Owkin's mission is to help medical and biology researchers discover patterns of biomarkers associated with diseases and treatment outcomes.

"There is a constant race happening between the data at hand and the knowledge we gain from it," Thomas Clozel, MD, CEO and co-founder of Owkin, said in a May 23 statement. "Our goal is to … achieve breakthrough medical moments such as the discovery of a new biomarker or target that could transform how patients are treated."

Owkin, which was founded in 2016, counts various research institutions and pharmaceutical companies among its partners. Since its launch, Owkin has raised $18 million from various investment firms and startup accelerators.

GV, formerly Google Ventures, funneled $7 million into the startup, adding on to Owkin's initial Series A funding total of $11 million that it closed in January.

"Owkin has assembled a talented team of experts in applied machine learning with clinical data experience," Adam Ghobarah, general partner at GV, said in the statement. "Utilizing EHR-derived clinical data, pathology imaging and sequencing data, Owkin has created a differentiated approach to rich datasets that are highly valuable to research institutions and the pharmaceutical industry at-large."

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