Clinical trials, in general, are medical experiments performed on people designed to answer queries about new treatments or new ways of using existing treatments. The trial enables researchers to determine whether new treatments/drugs are safe and effective for humans.
Clinical trials can be long and may take many years to complete. As a result, the cost of a clinical trial from Phase 1 to 3 can cost somewhere between $6M to $52M depending on various factors. In fact, each Phase III pharmaceutical study in complex diseases can cost £200M+.
Based out of Cambridge, Qureight aims to significantly reduce the costs of bringing complex, life-saving drugs to market. Recently, the company has raised £1.5M funding in a Seed round led by Playfair Capital.
Other investors including, Life Sciences funds Meltwind, Ascension, and Cambridge Angels also participated.
Deals with imaging analytics
Founded by Alessandro Ruggiero, and Muhunthan Thillai, Qureight is an imaging analytics company.
The company’s proprietary technology enables scientists to track disease progression and drug response in patients with complex diseases, developing unique digital biomarkers for use in clinical trials.
The UK company uses cloud-based technology to assist in the structuring of image and paired clinical metadata in complex diseases.
Consequently, it allows for the development of AI-based tools to better understand diseases, including lung fibrosis, complex cancers, and COVID-19.
“Existing treatments for lung fibrosis are costly and clinical trials to find new drugs are often very large – needing many patients to look for an outcome,” says Dr. Thillai.
He says, “Qureight’s platform technology will allow biopharma companies to recruit fewer patients for clinical trials and more precisely target the right kind of patients – saving money and producing better outcomes with a personalised approach to drug development.”
Targets Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)
At present, the company is working on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). It is a condition where lungs become scarred and breathing becomes increasingly difficult.
Qureight says lung scarring can also happen as a consequence of Covid-19. The UK company was the first to integrate complex data sets and software algorithms across Europe last year.
It showed changes in blood distribution within the lungs affected by COVID-19, which opens the door to newer ways of treating patients by targeting the lung’s blood supply.
CEO and co-founder Dr. Muhunthan Thillai, who is also a lung specialist at Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, demonstrated at the European Respiratory Society International Congress in Madrid that automated image analysis from CT scans of the lungs, paired with clinical data, can be used to track the progression of patients with lung scarring as the condition gets worse and the disease progresses.
Qureight Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Alessandro Ruggiero – also a radiology consultant in Cambridge says, “our next targets are pulmonary hypertension and adverse drug effects in complex lung cancer patients.
Right now, clients using the Qureight platform include the drug companies Takeda, Galapagos, and Roche.
London-based Playfair Capital is an early-stage fund that commits to companies early and with conviction. The VC takes a sector-agnostic approach, and investments span deep tech, SaaS, marketplaces, and B2B companies.
Playfair Capital investor Jeevan Sunner says, “The world-leading clinical expertise of co-founders Dr. Thillai and Dr. Ruggiero has been crucial in Qureight’s development of the world’s only AI-powered platform dedicated to complex diseases. The technology offers an unrivalled integrated and secure solution for managing, analysing and sharing clinical data – and is set to transform the structuring of clinical trials and eventually the treatment of patients.”