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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry


Image courtesy of Healx

The start-up company, Healx, founded by Dr Tim Guilliams and based on core research performed in the group of Dr Andreas Bender, was awarded “Life Science Business of the Year 2015” at the Cambridge University Entrepreneurs awards on 15 May.

Healx works with charities and patient groups to develop new therapeutic alternatives for rare diseases, many of which cannot currently be treated. 

The company recently gained distinction by becoming involved in the case of a young American named Bertrand Might, who was the first patient ever to be diagnosed with an NGLY1 mutation, leading to a rare condition now called “Congenital Disorder of Deglycosylation”.  Healx is now working with a group of researchers, clinicians and patients to find a potential cure for this condition. 

Healx also helps biopharmaceutical companies maximise the therapeutic value of their portfolios by identifying new drug indications in the area of rare diseases and beyond.  Services include a cloud-based data analytics platform that combines "–omics" analysis with data mining and machine learning to find and rank novel drug repurposing options. 

The Healx team use their expertise in machine learning, chem-informatics and computational biology to identify previously un-tried drug candidates, targets and modes of action hypotheses, and indications of known compounds.   For example, they can conduct bespoke analyses to generate informed predictions on a case-by-case basis for drugs that could be used to target a gene, or condition, of interest.

The startup successfully completed a £300k seed round in April, attracting investment from respected life sciences entrepreneurs, biotech investors and science innovators.  Healx is supported by ‘Blue Chip’ Cambridge entrepreneurs, such as Jonathan Milner, Ronjon Nag and Darrin Disley.

Healx also launched the Cambridge Rare Disease Network earlier in May, which aims to link key influencers through a series of events and initiatives, and to promote best practice in the specialist field of medical technology.

Healx will now receive £5 thousand for winning the CR Lowe Carpe Diem Enterprise “Life Science Business of the Year 2015”. 

Cambridge University Entrepreneurs run one of the most successful business creation competitions in the world.  Since 1999 CUE has evolved to being a key part of the University’s ecosystem for supporting and accelerating entrepreneurship and innovation.

Dr Andreas Bender is a member of the Chemistry Department and lectures in Molecular Informatics in the Centre for Molecular Informatics.  His work is focused on the prediction of properties of molecules, particularly small molecules which could be of therapeutic interest in the life science field.