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AI, drug discovery and rare disease
October 2018
by DDNews Staff  |  Email the author


CAMBRIDGE, U.K.—Healx, a technology company seeking to develop breakthrough treatments for rare diseases, in October announced the appointment of Dr. Kate Hilyard as chief operating officer. A senior pharma executive with extensive drug discovery expertise, her appointment is being touted as underlining Healx’s mission to “combine deep pharmacological expertise with artificial intelligence (AI) and active patient engagement to give sufferers of rare disease a better quality of life.”
At Healx, Hilyard will lead strategy implementation to drive business growth enabling Healx to deliver rare disease treatments at scale through AI and cutting-edge technologies. The company’s massively parallel approach to drug discovery combines its unique AI technologies with one of the largest collections of insights from rare disease patient groups.
“Kate brings a wealth of experience to Healx and her appointment is a real coup,” said Tim Guilliams, Healx’s co-founder and CEO. “Having started Healx with an artificial intelligence and patient care focus, Kate’s appointment broadens our senior expertise with further deep rare disease research know-how and will be core to our goal of transforming the lives of patients, using our AI to find treatments based on existing drugs.
Kate’s track record of scientific and business leadership includes over 25 years’ drug discovery experience in the pharma and biotech sector, with a decade finding new treatments for rare diseases. She joins from Charles River, where she was corporate vice president of discovery.
“The unmet medical need for patients with rare diseases cannot be met using the traditional drug discovery and development approach. A radical shift away from blockbuster drugs towards more personalised treatments and patient-centric approaches is required,” said Hilyard. “Using AI to discover new therapies has already been shown to be transformative in terms of time and money spent on clinical trials and Healx is at the forefront of changing drug discovery using AI. It is exciting to be joining the ambitious Healx team at this pivotal time, to use my extensive experience of transforming drug discovery organizations to make a difference to rare disease patient lives.”
In July, Healx announced that it had raised £10 million in a Series A financing which will be used to more than double Healx’s diverse and multidisciplinary team of software engineers, data scientists, pharmacologists and drug development experts and to expand its world class artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.
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