Owkin and Nantes University Hospital (CHU Nantes) to Advance Cancer Research with Artificial Intelligence

21 October 2020

Owkin, a startup that deploys AI and Federated Learning technologies to augment medical research and enable scientific discoveries, announces a collaboration with Nantes University Hospital (CHU de Nantes). This engagement leverages CHU de Nantes’ high-quality datasets and world-class medical research, as well as Owkin’s pioneering technologies and research platform. Collaborations such as these have potential to advance clinical research and drug development.

Among researchers at the CHU de Nantes, Pr Brigitte Dréno head of the dermatology medical department, she will team up with Owkin to develop and validate machine learning models on the RIC-Mel database in order to better understand and predict the evolution of nevi into diagnosed melanomas.

This first project on melanomas is a starter, indeed AI technology and collaboration with OWKIN will be extended to other medical fields such as oncology, hematology and chronic diseases.

Philippe EL SAIR, CHU de Nantes’ general director : “CHU de Nantes intends to be an hospital at the forefront in this field and is proud of this partnership with Owkin which is a pioneer firm in artificial intelligence.”

This represents the second collaboration between Owkin and CHU de Nantes. The two previously partnered in 2019 as part Healthchain, an AI consortium aimed at launching an open source AI research platform. Through these partnerships, CHU de Nantes is part of the Owkin Loop, a federated network of US and European academic medical centers that collaborate with Owkin to generate new insights from high-quality, curated, research-grade, multimodal patient data captured in clinical trials or research cohorts. Loop generated insights can inform pharmaceutical drug development strategy, from biomarker discovery to clinical trial design, and product differentiation. Owkin seeks to create a movement in medicine by establishing federated learning at the core of future research.

Federated learning technologies enable researchers in different institutions and different geographies to collaborate and train multicentric AI models on heterogeneous datasets, resulting in better predictive performance and higher generalizability. Data does not move, only the algorithms travel, thus protecting an institution’s data governance and privacy. Furthermore, Owkin’s data use is compliant with local ethical body consent processes and data compliance regulations such as HIPAA and GDPR.

Meriem Sefta, Head of Partnerships at Owkin, says: “We are so excited to work with the CHU Nantes, a prestigious institution with a lot of expertise in AI and data management. The integration of our products and technology with their existing expertise and infrastructure will bring a very reactive strike force to tackle pressing challenges in melanoma.”