Abzu x Innovayt // EIC Accelerator
The disruptive potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has driven its steady adoption across all major business sectors. Life Sciences and Biopharma R&D uniquely stand to strongly benefit from AI but are yet to realise its full potential. AI offers the promise to reverse a 40 year-long trend of decreasing returns on investment and low success rate in drug development, where bringing a drug from bench to bedside can cost up to €2.5 billion.
More than 95% of AI is considered a “black box”, solutions which despite delivering accurate models lack both transparency (how did the AI reach that model) and explainability (why did the AI reach that model). The need for transparency and explainability in AI is driving key actions at local and global levels, ranging from the Nordic Ethical AI Landscape organised by Nordic Innovation to the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act. Therefore, there is a need for explainable, transparent, and accurate AI solutions across major business areas. Despite Life Science executives seeing long-term value creation intrinsically linked to AI, the jury is still out on the impact of its current implementations. Arguably, this stems from the “black box” nature of current solutions, more so in an R&D context where it is critical to provide clear insights into highly complex, multivariable datasets of large and small size. Transparency and explainability are decisive factors in providing insights which increase productivity, accelerate discoveries, and reduce costs in drug development.
Abzu, a Danish-Spanish deep tech start-up founded in January 2018, is tackling this challenge head-on. The Abzu team includes experts in physics, high-performance computing, AI, mathematics, bioinformatics, and business. With offices in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Barcelona (Spain), Abzu has developed the first of its kind transparent and explainable AI-powered algorithm, the QLattice®, a high-performance technology based on quantum field theory that uses symbolic regression to deliver accurate and explainable models. This stands in stark contrast to mainstream “black-box” AI models, which due to lack of transparency and explainability, limit insights extracted from models. Abzu’s core technology has been initially tested in over 15 studies in the Life Sciences sector. By establishing key strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotech companies, Abzu accelerates analysis and provides unique insights relevant to drug discovery and to understanding until now hidden biological mechanisms. Abzu is now set to develop a user-friendly application uniquely tailored to challenges in the Life Science sector. Reason® is an easy-to-operate platform with the QLattice as the discovery engine and a unique product delivering explainable insights to scientists. Reason and the QLattice’s unique value in the AI landscape and long-term horizontal potential can assist the EU in leading the race in strategically important sectors such as fintech, critical infrastructure, as well as energy and climate.
Innovayt helped Abzu secure €2.5 million in grant from the EIC Accelerator programme (1 out of 75 awardees in the competitive June 2022 cut-off), which supports SMEs and start-ups to develop and scale-up game-changing innovations. Under a grant-first modality, Abzu will accelerate their expansion within the Life Sciences while leaving the door open for a future equity investment up to €15 million from the EIC Fund.
The Innovayt team did a great job helping us to write an excellent proposal that reflected perfectly where we wanted to take our product as a company. Their in-depth expertise in life sciences and technology meant their input was always of high quality and their feedback to us highly relevant, challenging us when necessary to improve our proposal and project design.
The Abzu team.