Quris AI and MBZUAI to enhance personal drug development industry in MENA

The Quris-AI team in the lab. Quris-AI

Collaboration sets out the launch of a world-class Bio-AI center in Abu Dhabi

Quris-AI and Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) signed an MoU aimed at the development of a world-class Bio-AI center in Abu Dhabi that will support the development of personalized medications, tailored specifically to the diversified population of the MENA region.

The partnership agreement was signed on January 16, 2023 at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) by Isaac Bentwich, M.D., Founder, and CEO of Quris and MBZUAI Provost, Timothy Baldwin. Nobel Laureate and Quris’ Head of Research Operations, Professor Aaron Ciechanover, met with members of the MBZUAI research team to discuss the partnership, including MBZUAI President and co-principal investigator Professor Xing and MBZUAI Deputy Department Chair and Associate Professor of Machine Learning, Kun Zhang.

Pharmaceuticals today are being developed regardless of the differences between individuals, and different ethnic and genetic groups. Currently, there is a staggering 89% failure rate during clinical trials. “One of the main problems in drug development is the model that we are using, specifically the mouse. The mouse is not a human and therefore it’s no wonder that 92% of drugs that are successful in mice are failing in humans,” shared Nobel winner and Chairman of Quris’ science board, Professor Aaron Ciechanover. The partnership with MBZUAI and Quris-AI will support the development of personalized medication for the MENA region. At present, the UAE’s healthcare industry has adopted technological advancements to create a robust ecosystem that can cater to future needs. The proactive approach to drug development focuses on advances in gene research for disease diagnosis and provides guidance for drug dosage and treatment to maximize the results and minimize the side effects. “It is an incredible opportunity to work with some of the leading scientists and industrialists in Israel. It has huge regional importance and the science behind the collaboration will be truly epoch-making. The Bio-AI center has the potential to really drive the best health outcomes within the U.A.E and around the world,” said MBZUAI Provost, Timothy Baldwin, at the signing ceremony.

MBZUAI Provost Timothy Baldwin and Founder and CEO of Quris-AI, Isaac Bentwich M.D. signing the partnership agreement at ADSW.

The research derived from the Bio-AI center will be able to significantly improve patient outcomes and experiences while efficiently managing treatment costs specifically for the region and the diverse ethnic and genetic groups.

Quris’ AI-powered “patient-on-a-chip” system provides a cutting-edge alternative to human clinical trials and animal testing in drug development by using a combination of stem-cell-derived tissue and AI to simulate the human body’s reaction to new drugs, leveraging a genetically diverse range of patients and determining which are the best drug candidates. “We are delighted to be collaborating with Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence in Abu Dhabi, given its strong commitment to advancing AI and significant opportunities for synergy,” said Isaac Bentwich M.D., founder and CEO of Quris. “We salute the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, championing the UAE to become a center of excellence in AI as a strong pillar of the economy, and we are honored to contribute to realizing this vision.”

Having raised $37 million in Seed funding from investors including SoftBank, the ground-breaking Generate, Train, and Predict process improves accuracy, alleviates the ethical concerns around animal testing, and reduces the duration and cost of drug development.

Nobel Laureate, Professor Aaron Ciechanover, is one of the notable names behind Quris, alongside Moderna co-founder and former FDA Science Board Chair, Professor Robert Langer. The business aspects are led by former Pfizer CEO Henry McKinnell, who now chairs Quris’ Advisory Board, alongside MedTech Visionary Dr. Richter, founder of world-leading companies Medinol and Orbotech.

A team of PhD MBZUAI researchers, led by Professor Kun Zhang will work collaboratively to achieve this common goal, to accelerate the development of personalized medication for the MENA region, and support the advancement of the UAE’s national strategy to be an AI leader by 2031.

Updated: January 20, 2023, 9:43 AM
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