AI partnership to develop new treatments for childhood illness

Sensyne Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital partner to apply ethical AI to drive research into childhood disease

A new partnership will drive the development of new treatments for childhood illnesses

Sensyne and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) will work together to develop new treatments for childhood illnesses through the ethical application of clinical artificial intelligence (AI) research on anonymised patient data.

The agreement marks the launch of a wider initiative to create a global data collaborative using ethical AI to find new and better ways to treat rare and complex childhood diseases

As a result, GOSH will receive equity in Sensyne Health, research funding, and a share of revenues

The five-year non-exclusive Strategic Research Agreement (SRA) will analyse anonymised patient data using clinical artificial intelligence (clinical AI) technology.

Its purpose is to enable the ethical application of clinical AI research to improve paediatric clinical outcomes and accelerate research into new medicines to find new and better ways to treat rare and complex childhood diseases.

The SRA is Sensyne’s first to focus on improving care and accelerating the development of medicines specifically for children.

It will offer the potential to use digital innovation to find and develop diagnosis and treatments much faster, not just for GOSH patients, but children across the country and internationally

The first project will focus on developing a clinical decision support algorithm to help clinicians caring for children with chronic kidney disease. This will then be used to develop further clinical support algorithms for other diseases.

Under the SRA, Sensyne and GOSH will focus on three areas:

  • Paediatric drug discovery – helping to discover new medicines aimed at treating childhood diseases
  • Clinical decision support tools to support children’s care – developing and validating the effectiveness of new AI-enabled software tools to help clinicians analyse complex data sets so as to improve clinical decision-making. The AI algorithms will be developed to create early warning systems that identify children most at risk, and potentially allow earlier interventions to help monitor how a child is responding to a particular treatment
  • Clinical trial design – use of AI for the analysis of retrospective clinical data and the generation of synthetic control arms to support clinical trials more effectively, speeding up drug development for children

The aim of the research is to enable the ethical application of clinical AI research to improve paediatric outcomes and accelerate research

A global paediatric research community

As a digital innovator in the NHS, GOSH has invested significantly in creating a unique dataset with the aim to drive forward improvements in diagnosis and treatment of rare and complex childhood diseases.

Furthermore, GOSH, together with Sensyne, plans to build a global ethical AI research paediatric community, dedicated to using data to find new and better ways to treat rare and complex childhood diseases.

This is an area that has so far not been a major focus of the global pharmaceutical and data science industries as most medicines are developed for adults.

Together we aim to use the power of ethical AI to make a real difference in finding new and better ways to treat rare and complex childhood diseases, and in future to develop a world-wide research community using ethical AI to improve the lives of children world-wide

But it has long been recognised that the development of paediatric medicines from discovery through clinical development is particularly challenging, both in terms of new therapies and in limiting the availability of paediatric versions of adult medicines.

However, recent developments in clinical AI and the use of real world data provide an opportunity to develop new medicines and to accelerate the clinical development of new medicines for childhood illnesses.

And this will be a key focus of the research that Sensyne and GOSH will seek to develop, thereby providing new opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to invest in new therapies for children.

Matthew Shaw, chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: “At GOSH we treat patients with the most-rare and complex conditions.

“Research into developing new diagnosis and treatments is vital and we are always looking to find ways to improve patient outcomes, while making sure their information is safe and secure.

“Children are at the heart of everything we do and this collaboration is no different. It will offer the potential to use digital innovation to find and develop diagnosis and treatments much faster, not just for GOSH patients, but children across the country and internationally.”

Lord Paul Drayson, chief executive of Sensyne Health, adds: “We are delighted to be undertaking research in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital, widely recognised as one of the leading centres for children’s healthcare and research in the world.

“GOSH has invested heavily in its digital infrastructure and curation of its data, which means we can start work immediately and together we aim to use the power of ethical AI to make a real difference in finding new and better ways to treat rare and complex childhood diseases, and in future to develop a world-wide research community using ethical AI to improve the lives of children world-wide.”

The details

The new SRA provides non-exclusive access to longitudinal de-identified and anonymised patient data for analysis by Sensyne using its expertise in clinical AI.

The dataset covers a patient population of approximately 320,000 people.

Research into developing new diagnosis and treatments is vital and we are always looking to find ways to improve patient outcomes, while making sure their information is safe and secure

Research will be undertaken to the highest standards of information governance and data security in accordance with NHS principles, the UK Government Code of Practice, and data protection legislation.

And all data accessed by Sensyne will be anonymised by GOSH beforehand and the provision of the data will operate under an agreed Data Processing Protocol under GOSH governance oversight.

GOSH patient data is stored securely within GOSH’s Digital Research Environment, a research platform hosted on Microsoft Azure Cloud, which will facilitate safe, efficient data processing by Sensyne and rnable immediate commencement of research.

For its role in the research, GOSH will receive 1,428,571 new ordinary shares of 10p nominal value, representing 0.9% of the current issued share capital and bringing the total share ownership held by NHS trusts in Sensyne to approximately 13.8%.

GOSH is also eligible to receive up to a further 1,428,570 ordinary shares, payable in three tranches that are each dependent on the achievement of specific discovery research project milestones.

And GOSH will also receive from Sensyne an investment of £250,000 per year over the five-year term of the contract for specific investments in information technology to enable the curation and analysis of data under the SRA.

In addition, GOSH will also receive a royalty on revenues that are generated by Sensyne from the research undertaken under the SRA.

Any financial return GOSH receives from Sensyne will be reinvested to facilitate research that will ultimately improve patient care.

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