Biotechs make inroads
Connecticut companies making presence felt at world forum in Philadelphia
The setting for one of the world’s largest biotech conferences this week may be Philadelphia’s Center City, but the presence of several New Haven technology companies is giving the proceedings a little Connecticut flavor.
Guilford-based InveniAI is one of four New Haven-area companies exhibiting at Bio 2019, one the world’s largest forums for the biotech sector. More than 16,000 attendees are taking part in the conference, which concludes Thursday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
The other New Haven-area companies participating in the conference are:
1 Woodbridge-based Vistara Biosciences, which specializes in developing bioinformatics for drug discovery. Bioinformatics is the science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data such as genetic codes.
1 Thetis Pharamaceuticals of Branford, which is developing therapy for treating gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. 1 AlloMek Therapeutics of Woodbridge, which is developing low-toxicity treatments for cancers.
While many of the participants at Bio 2019 are biotech and pharmaceutical companies focused on developing new drugs, InveniAI’s core business is using artificial intelligence to assess complex data patterns in potential drug candidates, according to Aman Kahant, the company’s chief business officer.
“We’re trying to make sense out of all
that biological data,” Kahant said Tuesday. “By doing that, we believe that we can dramatically shorten the time it takes to bring a drug to market.”
Many of the pharmaceutical companies doing business with InveniAI are companies with drug candidates that have reached the mid-point of the three-phase process associated with getting federal Food and Drug Administration approval to sell them in the United States.
“As we seek to fulfill our business vision to bring innovative treatments to patients faster, we very much expect that InveniAI’s platform will not only enable us to identify alternate therapeutic value for our portfolio at an unprecedented speed but also capitalize on our existing investment by reducing the time to market, clinical cost of development and enhancing the probability of clinical success,” Mitsuo Satoh, executive officer and head of the research and development division for the Japanese pharmaceutical giant Kyowa Hakko Kirin, said when the two companies announced last December that they would be working together.
Kahant said another benefit of InveniAI’s technology is that if the drug trial process ultimately determines the candidate product has failed to work for its proposed use, pharmaceutical candidates will no longer have to start from scratch in an effort to find another possible way the compound can be used.
The ability to use artificial intelligence to analyze complex biological data goes well beyond the biotech and pharmaceutical fields, he said. InevniAI officials are beginning to explore using the it to help develop products in the consumer health care, skincare and agricultural products fields, according to Kahant.
“We are exploring the other areas the technology might complement, but pharma is core to what we do,” he said. “It’s an area that really can make a difference and one that is the most lucrative.”
InveniAI’s presenece at Bio 2019 enables the company to seek out new clients, renew relationships with existing ones and seek to attract venture capital, Kahant said.
InveniAI was spun off from another New Haven-area technology company, Branfordbased BioXcel Corp., in May 2017 and has about 15 employee, Kahant said.
Joining the New Haven-area technology companies at Bio 2019 are officials with the state’s technology investment arm, Connecticut Innovations. Officials with the agency say they have meetings scheduled with representatives about 40 companies during Bio 2019, some of which have expressed interest in moving to Connecticut.
Aman Khant, chief business officer of Guilford-based InveniAI, left, talks with Krishnan Nandabalan, the company’s president and chief executive officer, at Bio 2019, an international biotech conference being held in Philadelphia this week.
Gary Mathias, chief executive officer and co-founder of Thetis Pharmacceuticals, center left, and Aaron Mathias, director of business development, center right, meet with business associates at Bio 2019 in Philadelphia.