AI beats pharma?

June 6, 2019 | General
Cambridge neurotech startup BIOS is on a mission to replace pills with algorithms.

BIOS’ mission (to create “the open standard hardware and software interface between the human nervous system and AI”) sounds terribly futuristic to a non-scientist like yours truly, but the premise also too enticing not to dig into. Basically, the company wants to replace pills with algorithms.

How does that work?

BIOS and its team of experts from a variety of fields (you name it; neuroscience, machine learning, software engineering, applied biomaterials, biotechnology and medicine) have set out to succeed in integrating AI-based treatments straight into the human body and act in lieu of pharmaceuticals.

Hewage, a computational neuroscientist himself, teamed up with bioengineer Oliver Armitage to make this attempt in earnest back in 2015, picking up a $4.5 million seed round of funding last year as it opened an R&D office in Montreal, Canada on the road from concept to reality.

The neurotech company is part of a growing list of startups working on brain-machine interfaces, neuro-prosthetics and the like, including Elon Musk’s Neuralink, and graduated from Y Combinator in 2017.

Fast forward to today and the startup is announcing some rather exciting news at the INS Conference in Sydney, Australia, unveiling a platform for AI-led research into the application of technology for chronic disease management.

In what it calls a world premiere, BIOS has managed to apply advanced machine learning technology to isolate physiological biomarkers (e.g. heart rate, blood pressure or glucose levels) from a massive neural interface dataset.

This sends a strong signal that BIOS will be able to develop AI-based neural treatments and directly treat chronic disease patients via their brains and neural pathways.