Montreal’s CHUM hospital turns to AI to learn about COVID


Montreal’s CHUM Hosputal (Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal) will partner with AI startup My Intelligent Machines (MIMs) to filter the mass amounts of scientific research about COVID.

The artificial intelligence supercluster SCALE AI will back the project for $500,000, reports Le Devoir

More than 100,000 COVID-related publications came out in 2020, amounting to five percent of all scientific articles. The aim, say the two organizations, is to reduce the time spent going through about 2,000 scientific articles published each week and “establish their quality.”

“We will be able to indicate how reliable the information in the articles is. It will allow clinicians to improve their ability to monitor science,” said Sarah Jenna, the CEO of MIMs.

“In a pandemic, there was no knowledge,” said Kathy Malas, who heads the CHUM’s innovation center. “It was created gradually. And clinicians were not just using knowledge from the literature, they were also generating it.“

The deal will hold for three years.

What is MIMs?

MIMs’ technology can also collect and process large amounts of patient data during phases of drug development. It’s core technology is a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform for the pharmaceutical sector.

“Even before developing a drug, our software allows companies to better understand what differentiates patients or patient subgroups,” Jenna told the website.

By knowing “what makes one individual different from another”, pharmaceuticals and biotechs can direct the development of molecules according to the subgroups most likely to respond to a treatment. Companies thus reduce the likelihood of failure during drug approval phases by authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration, writes Le Devoir.

“The lack of efficacy of drugs is associated with a failure rate of nearly 70 percent during phases two and three”, said Jenna. She added that  it takes about 10 years to develop a drug. The associated costs hover around a billion dollars.

“By halving the failure rate in phase two and three, for example, pharmaceutical companies can save up to $ 500 million,” she said.

MIMs is getting its share of recognition

In December, MIMs was named one of North America’s 100 Most Promising Tech Companies by Red Herring , a Silicon Valley tech publication.

Investors are also interested. The company previously raised $5 million in funding two weeks ago. That’s in addition to the $3 million raised over the company’s two previous rounds in 2017 and 2019. Anges Québec, Desjardins Capital, Real Ventures, MEDTEQ and Ontario StandUp Ventures participated.

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