44 hospitals join AI-powered medical research network

Dozens of hospitals and research institutions across the United States and Europe have joined a new AI-powered medical research network.

The network, created by machine-learning technology company Owkin, allows researchers to train predictive models on real-world data at scale and share that collective knowledge with other partner institutions in an effort to improve patient treatment and accelerate drug research and development.

A total of 44 hospitals and research institutions have signed on to participate in the Owkin Loop Network, including the Cleveland Clinic and Mount Sinai institutions in the United States, and French cancer research institutions Institut Curie and Centre Léon Bérard.

The network will benefit researchers, partner hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

“Access to patient data is critical for improving medical research,” Thomas Clozel, MD, co-founder and chief executive officer of Owkin, said in a prepared statement. “But the current patient data brokerage system hinders knowledge-sharing and risks patient data privacy, resulting in knowledge silos at individual hospitals. If we can transform the world’s clinical data into broadly accessible research knowledge, we believe we can fundamentally advance medical research and have an incredibly powerful impact on solving the most important medical challenges.”

The network could contribute to greater insights and improved patient outcomes by training predictive models on medical data that has been historically siloed.

The network, which brings together specialties across oncological, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases, connects hundreds of doctors and researchers.

Current research projects include a predictive model to identify a rare cancer and identify brain age from radiology scans.

“We are excited to be working with Owkin to apply AI algorithms to clinical data for mesothelioma research," Françoise Galateau-Sallé, MD, principal investigator at Centre Léon Bérard, said in a statement. "AI models identified a new subgroup of patients that are poor responders to the standard of care and potential good candidates for immunotherapy."

The announcement of the network comes as Owkin raised $16 million in a Series A funding round. Owkin was founded in 2016 and has raised $18 million to date. 

Editor's note: Owkin updated their announcement on Dec. 14. Find the updated announcement here. An earlier version of this article also stated the network also connected more than 500,000 patients.