Aug 10, 2017

GNS Healthcare Licenses REFS™ Causal Machine Learning and Simulation Platform to Alexion to Accelerate Discovery of New Treatments for Rare Diseases

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – August 10, 2017– GNS Healthcare (GNS), a leading precision medicine company that applies causal machine learning technology to large and diverse data sets to better match drugs and other health interventions to individual patients, today announced that it has entered into a license arrangement with Alexion for the rights to operate its REFS™ (Reverse Engineering and Forward Simulation) causal machine learning and simulation platform to accelerate rare-disease research and the development of new therapies.

The REFS technology, currently licensed by Celgene and other leading healthcare organizations, will enable Alexion scientists to reverse engineer models from large scale clinical, next generation sequencing and ‘omic data, and simulate those models to arrive at novel therapeutic insights for rare-diseases. The models generated by REFS will learn causal networks underlying pathogenic mutations linked to rare diseases, allowing Alexion scientists to interrogate the models to address “what if?” questions to elucidate biological mechanisms and identify novel targets. Moreover, Alexion, working in partnership with Sema4, will leverage the platform to decode rare-disease “genomic shields” — a buffering mechanism that enables patients with a pathogenic rare-disease mutation to resist the manifestation of the disease – and identify biomarkers of disease and drug response to stratify patient populations.

“We are excited to play a role in the journey to discover transformative therapies for patients with rare diseases,” said Iya Khalil, PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of GNS Healthcare. “As innovative companies like Alexion harness analytics and big data to answer the toughest questions about disease mechanisms and drug response, REFS unique approach of reverse engineering disease models and simulating “what if?” scenarios unravel novel drug targets and biomarkers to help make these discoveries possible.”

“We are delighted to partner with GNS in applying causal networks across a broad spectrum of rare diseases to decode and address their pathogenic roots,” said John Reynders, PhD, Vice President of Data Sciences, Genomics, and Bioinformatics at Alexion. “I look forward to combining the GNS REFS platform with Alexion’s deep expertise in data sciences to accelerate the discovery of innovative medicines for patients suffering from a rare disease.”

GNS’ REFS platform was recently published in Cancer Research for its role in uncovering novel targets for triple-negative breast cancer. The high rate of validated predictions underscores the power of simulation in REFS, a new approach for quickly generating, at scale, new biological hypotheses relevant for diagnosing and discovering novel treatments for complex diseases, including multiple myeloma, colorectal cancer, and Huntington’s disease.


About GNS Healthcare

GNS Healthcare solves healthcare’s matching problem for leading health plans, biopharma companies, and health systems. We transform massive and diverse data streams to precisely match therapeutics, procedures, and care management interventions to individuals, improving health outcomes and saving billions of dollars. Our causal learning and simulation platform, REFS, accelerates the discovery of what works for whom and why.


Media Contact:
Patty Kellicker
VP, Marketing