Technology investment company and incubator Red Cell Partners announced today the launch of Zephyr AI, a company that leverages large data sets to inform both clinical care and the development of new targeted precision therapies.
The management team of the new company consists of CEO Yisroel Brumer, formerly of the office of the Secretary of Defense; Executive Chairman Grant Verstandig, who most recently served Chief Digital Officer at UnitedHealth Group; and Chief Technology Officer Jeff Sherman, who was the machine learning architect at Rally Health, which was acquired in 2017 by UnitedHealth’s Optum unit.
According to a press release announcing its launch, Zephyr AI will look to improve patient outcomes while lowering costs by integrating “artificial intelligence with extensive datasets to upend traditional ‘guess and test’ drug development and personalized medicine processes to unearth novel therapeutics, new applications for existing therapeutics, and advanced biomarkers for individualized treatments.”
The potential new company gave a hint at its direction earlier in the year via the publication of two papers by the founders in the journal Oncogene that detailed the company’s technology and it’s performance.
“These findings demonstrate that Zephyr AI can already identify novel-use cases for existing therapeutics in cancer,” company CTO Sherman. “The progress we’ve made in the months since publication is astounding. It’s a testament to our team at Zephyr AI and just a small sample of the groundbreaking progress on the horizon.”
As it looks to leverage its technology, the company is focused on building industry partnerships that will allow it collect and analyze large-scale datasets to help it develop machine-learning pipelines. This will allow the company to pursue a number of different avenues with drug developers including rescuing orphan drugs, creating new therapeutic combinations, and repurpose existing drugs for new uses.
“While drug development has always used the best scientific processes available, those processes have been exceedingly slow, sapping hope from patients awaiting new treatments. Zephyr AI will take a targeted approach with their technologies to expedite discoveries,” said Zephyr AI Board member Jack Rowe, former CEO Aetna in a press release . “The enthusiasm for what we are doing from the pharma, biotech, and payer sectors is significant. They understand that our model to advance precision medicine is the future of drug development.”
In addition, Zephyr AI intends to become a player in biomarker discovery to aid in patient selection for existing and in-development therapeutics, making it a new player in the fast-growing field of clinical trials optimization. The company will use its artificial intelligence tools to match patients to therapeutics based on their specific disease characteristics.
“Integrating a massive array of datasets from our healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biotech partners coupled with our extraordinary team building truly revolutionary algorithms is what sets us apart,” said company CEO Brumer. “We could not be more excited about the potential to transform targeted patient care and to drastically reduce healthcare and drug development costs.”