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news Mar 15, 2018

BenevolentAI and group of UK charities partner to find a cure for blindness

BenevolentAI and Action Against AMD, a group of UK sight loss charities, have today announced their partnership to use BenevolentAI's technology to find treatments and a potential cure for the leading cause of blindness in the UK - 'age-related macular degeneration' (AMD).


BenevolentAI is collaborating with a group of four charities partnering to find a cure for AMD. Blind Veterans UK, Fight for Sight, the Macular Society and Scottish War Blinded have formed Action Against AMD to increase the funding for research into the condition and specifically to help develop an intervention that stops people losing their sight from AMD. 

BenevolentAI will use its proprietary technology platform to comprehensively review and understand the millions of scientific papers, clinical trials information, images, formulas, patents and additional data sets relating to AMD.  The technology will then conduct complex reasoning to create a new understanding of the disease, learn, explore, create and translate what it has learnt from this vast volume of information to pin-point important research areas, possible ways of preventing AMD and potential treatments.

AMD is the main cause of sight loss in developed countries and the third biggest worldwide. In the UK more than 600,000 have late stage AMD and this is set to double by 2050 as people live longer. Many more older people have early AMD that does not yet affect their sight so finding ways to detect and treat the disease before it causes sight loss is vital.

Dr. Jackie Hunter, CEO BenevolentBio, the bioscience subsidiary of BenevolentAI that focuses on accelerating drug discovery and development, commented: “BenevolentAI’s deep learning linguistic models, knowledge graph and algorithms will be applied to create a better understanding of AMD, generate new insights and identify promising new research areas for treating this devastating condition.”

Action Against AMD Chair, Rob Bryan said: “AI offers an exciting new way to approach medical research. We must find new treatments for AMD because it will affect tens of millions of older people across the world in the coming decades. We are delighted to be collaborating with BAI on this ground-breaking project.”

The early diagnosis and treatment of AMD is essential for reducing the risk of severe vision loss. By 2020, it is predicted almost 700,000 people will have late-stage AMD in the UK. Dr. Hunter addressed the need for action by saying, “BenevolentAI accelerates scientific discovery to tackle some of the largest and most pressing challenges in medicine. AMD is one such challenge. We are delighted to partner with AAA to generate new ideas in AMD that have the potential to deliver new medicines to a vast number patients.”




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ABOUT BenevolentAI

BenevolentAI is the global leader in the development and application of AI for scientific innovation.It is the largest private AI company in Europe and one of the world’s top five private AI companies.

The company has built a proprietary AI technology platform that ingests and processes knowledge from any source of vast complex scientific data and then analyses, reasons and extracts knowledge.  The technology enables BenevolentAI to generate new scientific insights very quickly at a massive scale.

In the first instance BenevolentAI has applied its technology to accelerate the discovery of new medicines creating the world’s richest bioscience knowledge graph containing well over 1bn meaningful relationships specific to drug discovery.The technology enables a completely unique understanding of disease and can deliver significantly higher success rates in discovering new medicines and potential cures for disease.

The company has made significant progress in accelerating drug development, including the initiation of 19 validated drug research programmes, including a breakthrough in ALS in 2017, where positive results for its AI derived invention was announced   BenevolentAI has entered into significant license agreements with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and began its first Phase IIb clinical study in 2017. 

Whilst the pharmaceutical sector is an area of tremendous opportunity, there is the also the opportunity to apply its technology to other science-based industries underpinning many of the world’s most valuable markets such as advanced materials, agriculture, nutraceuticals and animal health. Initially BenevolentAI will start its exploration into other scientific verticals by looking at how its technology can be applied to the multi-billion-dollar energy storage market.