Collaborations

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The MSK Innovation Hub program is currently hosting collaborations with eight leading innovators in global digital health. Together, they share a focus on applying cutting-edge digital health technologies to improving the diagnosis, treatment, and care of cancer patients around the world.
 

Blue Note Therapeutics 
  • Collaboration focus: Mental health issues for cancer patients and survivors 
  • Collaboration launched: 2021 

Company Overview 

Blue Note Therapeutics is a prescription digital therapeutics company singularly dedicated to serving patients experiencing cancer. In September 2021, the company announced a new collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) through the MSK Innovation Hub to help advance the development of Blue Note’s prescription digital therapeutic (PDT) candidate to treat fear of cancer recurrence. 

Problems We’re Solving 

There are about 18 million cancer patients and survivors in the U.S. today. Nearly half of all cancer patients experience psychosocial distress, anxiety, or depression. All too many of these cancer patients and survivors are never referred to mental health specialists. “Nearly all cancer patients face fear and uncertainty following their treatment, and for some, such fear can be distressing, preoccupying, and debilitating,” said Wendy Lichtenthal, PhD, Attending Psychologist at MSK. “This can impact their mental and physical health, experience with medical care, and quality of life. We look forward to collaborating with Blue Note on this important project to help patients cope with their fears of recurrence.” 

Working with MSK 

The collaborators will come together under MSK’s Innovation Hub program. “We are excited for this opportunity to further our partnership with MSK,” said Geoffrey Eich, CEO of Blue Note Therapeutics. “This new collaboration will give Blue Note access to leading cancer experts to advise and inform the development of our therapeutic, increasing our capacity to reach patients.” 

Certara 
  • Collaboration focus: Biosimulation program to evaluate cancer treatment efficacy—with an initial focus on CAR T-cell treatments for patients with multiple myeloma 
  • Collaboration launched: 2022 

Company Overview 

Certara accelerates medicines using proprietary biosimulation software, technology, and services to transform traditional drug discovery and development. Its clients include more than 2,000 biopharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, and regulatory agencies across 62 countries. 

Problems We’re Solving 

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is an immunotherapy that uses specially altered T-cells in the immune system to fight some forms of blood cancer. This new biosimulation platform initially aims to address key questions on the optimal dose and regimen for CAR T-cell therapies in patients with multiple myeloma and will leverage de-identified MSK clinical data.  Certara hopes to expand the use of the CAR T-cell biosimulation platform to evaluate combination therapies and enhance the manufacturing learning process for next generation CAR T-cell therapies.  

“While approved CAR T products for multiple myeloma are effective, relapses are common and additional efforts are needed to optimize these treatments,” said Dr. Sham Mailankody, an MSK medical oncologist and one of the project’s collaborators. “We are hopeful that this effort will provide important insights into improving the efficacy of these treatments, including identifying factors associated with durable response, and understanding future direction in terms of combination strategies.” 

Working with MSK 

Certara will be working with the MSK Innovation Hub to create a CAR T-cell therapy biosimulation platform.   

“We are very pleased to work with MSK, a leading cancer hospital and research institution, to accelerate innovative solutions and deliver meaningful impact to cancer patients,” said Piet van der Graaf, senior vice president of Quantitative Systems Pharmacology at Certara.  “After CAR T-cell therapy is infused into the body, the altered T-cells multiply and proliferate, so a precise and personalized dosing approach is essential. We are excited to use biosimulation to identify optimal therapeutic strategies using in silico, computer-based trials to guide precision dosing in virtual and actual patients.” 

GNS Healthcare
  • Collaboration focus: Utilizing AI-driven biosimulation to better match prostate cancer patients to clinical trials and other treatment options 
  • Collaboration launched: 2021 

Company Overview 

GNS Healthcare is an AI-driven biosimulation company working to transform the way drug therapies are discovered, developed, and utilized.  GNS has leveraged its pioneering Causal AI technology to exploit the recent explosive growth of multi-omics and clinical data to create Gemini—the virtual patient in oncology, neurodegeneration, and immunology—by revealing the hidden circuitry of disease.  Virtual patients allow for clinical trials across cohorts of diverse patients to be conducted computationally by simulating disease progression and drug response at the individual patient level. In 2021, the company announced a new collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering through the MSK Innovation Hub to leverage longitudinal multi-modal prostate cancer patient data and world-class prostate cancer expertise with GNS’ Gemini Prostate Cancer patient. 

Problems We’re Solving 

This collaboration will address key questions for prostate cancer patients, including identifying subtypes of aggressive disease and discovering novel drug targets and drivers of patient response to an increasing array of therapeutics. These insights will enable the design of highly sophisticated clinical trials, and generate evidence of comparative effectiveness between drugs and simulate treatment sequencing. 

“The results generated from GNS’ transformative AI approach are compelling, and I believe this ongoing collaboration will provide novel insights into prostate cancer that will directly improve patient care,” said Howard I. Scher, MD, MSK medical oncologist and Head of the Biomarker Development Program. 

Working with MSK  

“Collaborating with the MSK Innovation Hub will help to accelerate the discovery and development of new, more targeted and effective treatments for prostate cancer patients,” said GNS CEO and Co-Founder, Colin Hill.  “Simulating these virtual patient models allows us to understand what treatments work for which patients and why, improving clinical trial design and generating real-world evidence that maximizes the impact of drugs for patients. This has been a long road, but we are now at the point of being able to deliver true personalized treatments that work.” 

InsightRx  
  • Collaboration focus: Applying personalized pharmacology models and machine learning to identify and treat cancer patients at risk of developing neutropenia 
  • Collaboration launched: 2021 

Company Overview 

InsightRX is a healthcare technology company that has developed a cloud-based platform for precision medicine and clinical analytics designed to individualize treatment at the point of care. The platform leverages patient-specific data, pharmacology models, and machine learning to understand each patient’s unique pharmacological profile and can be integrated seamlessly within a clinical workflow. In 2021, the company announced a new collaboration through the MSK Innovation Hub, which will focus on validating and potentially improving pharmacology models used in InsightRX’s Nova precision dosing platform to enable clinicians to predict neutropenia. 

Problems We’re Solving 

Infections linked to neutropenia are among the most serious side effects of chemotherapy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which cites studies showing that 60,000 cancer patients in the U.S. are hospitalized with neutropenia each year, with 4,000 dying of neutropenia-related fever. A study published in the Journal of Oncology Practice estimated the cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations in the U.S. cost $2.3 billion for adults and $439 million for children in 2012, totaling 8.3% of all cancer-related hospitalization costs.  

“We created the MSK Innovation Hub because we know collaboration can spark the innovations needed to help more efficiently treat cancer and prevent treatment-associated complications,” said Pedram Razavi, MD, PhD, a breast medical oncologist and physician-scientist at MSK. “We look forward to collaborating with InsightRX to help clinicians better predict neutropenia and improve outcomes among people receiving chemotherapy.” 

Working with MSK 

 “It truly is an honor for InsightRX to be selected by MSK as an MSK Innovation Hub collaborator,” said Sirj Goswami, PhD, CEO and co-founder of InsightRX. “Working together, we can accelerate the development of precision medicine modules for oncology products that will help improve care for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.” 

Owkin  
  • Collaboration focus: Applying digital health technologies to data analytics, in order to better target treatment therapies and improve outcomes for bile duct cancer patients. 
  • Collaboration launched: 2021 

Company Overview 

Owkin is a French-American startup that specializes in AI and federated learning for medical research. The Owkin Platform connects life sciences companies with world-class academic researchers and hospitals to share deep medical insights for drug discovery and development.  Using federated learning and breakthrough collaborative AI technology, Owkin enables its partners to unlock siloed datasets while protecting patient privacy and securing proprietary data. Through sharing high-value insights, the company powers unprecedented collaboration to improve patient outcomes. In 2021, the company announced a new collaboration with MSK aimed at enabling clinicians to better target treatments and drastically improve survival times for bile duct cancer. 

Problems We’re Solving  

Cancer that develops in the bile ducts within the liver, known as intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, is often only diagnosed at an advanced stage. As a result, median survival is approximately seven months following diagnosis. Innovative treatment can double survival time, but it has historically been difficult to identify which patients would benefit from the treatment.  To help improve these statistics, Owkin will train deep learning models using deidentified data from MSK patients in order to predict the prognosis of cholangiocarcinoma and discover biomarkers of treatment response.  

“I am excited to be part of this cutting-edge research collaboration that will have a positive impact on how clinicians evaluate and treat patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, and potentially other cancers, as well,” said William R. Jarnigan MD, FACS, Chief of the MSK Hepatopancreatobiliary Service. 

Working with MSK 

“We’re excited to help MSK improve the treatment of some of the most aggressive forms of cancer. The richness and uniqueness of its research cohorts, together with Owkin’s extensive expertise in developing predictive AI models, will pave the way for forward-thinking science,” said Meriem Sefta PhD, Chief Data and Clinical Solutions Officer at Owkin. “We are thrilled to initiate this collaborative project with the MSK Innovation Hub.”