London, United Kingdom, 09 February 2024 – Concr is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a prestigious grant from Innovate UK, which will play a pivotal role in advancing the efforts to enable precision medicine.
Concr uses Bayesian computational frameworks adopted from astrophysics to interlink disparate and messy oncology data, allowing scientists to confidently identify and develop biomarkers of drug response, with minimal data requirements. These sophisticated biomarker predictions de-risk pivotal clinical trials and improve patient outcomes through effective stratification.
Innovate UK is renowned for its commitment to supporting UK enterprises that develop innovative solutions to critical issues. Its Advancing Precision Medicine competition funds industry-led collaborative R&D innovation projects to develop digital and data-enabled tools, as well as multi-modal approaches for more accurate diagnosis and treatment stratification.
The generous support of Innovate UK will fund AI-VISION - an observational clinical study where tissue samples from patients with early triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) will be profiled to define and validate biomarkers of chemotherapy response, with and without immunotherapy.
The current standard of care is the physician making the "best" choice using clinical and pathology data alone. Despite significant advances in molecular genomic profiling, there is currently no licensed platform linking tumour molecular data to predict drug responses for TNBC in the clinic. AI-VISION will link genomic data to clinical data from TNBC samples using Concr’s proprietary platform FarrSight®, to identify and validate biomarkers of response.
"We are deeply grateful to Innovate UK for recognising the importance of our work and providing us with this invaluable grant," said Dr Uzma Asghar, Concr’s Chief Scientific Officer and AI-VISION Project Manager. "This funding will empower us to make meaningful strides in clinical validation of Concr technology and demonstrate how this technology can improve treatment decision-making process for cancer patients. It will also help the pharmaceutical industry to better select people for clinical studies, selecting those who are most likely to benefit from their cancer drugs. We are excited to embark on this journey and eager to create a brighter future for our community."
The Chief Executive Officer of Concr, Dr Irina Babina, added: “There’s pronounced clinical conservatism and reluctance to embrace innovative enabling technologies, and it is vital for us as a sector to generate more high-quality evidence that showcases the value of these innovations. This is especially difficult for an early-stage company to do, and we’re grateful to our collaborators and Innovate UK for their support in addressing this significant and worthwhile challenge.”
The grant application process was highly competitive, and Concr wishes to extend its appreciation to the dedicated individuals who contributed to the successful application, as well as to the many supporters and partners who have been instrumental in our work.
Dr Navita Somaiah, Project Lead and Clinician Scientist at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden, said: “It’s exciting to announce our new partnership, which is bringing together experts in cancer, genomics, astrophysics and artificial intelligence for an innovative project that is seeking to improve treatment for TNBC. The aim of our project is to uncover new potential ways to treat TNBC more effectively, by combining data from a variety of different sources and analysing it using AI. For example, we hope to uncover genomic characteristics that indicate sensitivity to immunotherapy, and could guide us to selecting the patients most likely to benefit from these newer therapies.”.
On the synergy between partners from multi-disciplinary fields, Prof Richard Massey of Durham University Institute for Computational Cosmology commented: "We developed statistical techniques to study the far-off Universe, but are thrilled they might help people back to health, here on Earth. This project is bringing together researchers from such different areas, and we’re all learning new methods from each other".
The 24-month-long study will add to the growing body of evidence aimed at demonstrating the performance and safety of novel computational methods to deliver precision medicine for the benefit of patients.
For media inquiries, interviews, or further information about Concr and the grant, please contact:
Concr is a mission-driven techbio company that uses established methods from astrophysics to accurately predict patient outcomes and treatment response to novel and existing cancer therapies. Concr’s unique approach allows iterative learning between disparate and fragmented data across all stages of a drug’s journey into the clinic, removing the need for ‘big data’ and yielding the most accurate multi-modal tumour models. Using Concr’s cloud-native platform – FarrSight® – researchers can computationally simulate clinical trials, make advanced predictions about biomarkers, and perform standard bioinformatics analyses directly. Concr is headquartered in London, with a wholly-owned subsidiary in Brisbane, Australia. The company is a venture capital-backed enterprise, with investors including the University of Cambridge Enterprise, R42 Group, Oncology Ventures, Debiopharm, Cambridge Angels, Parkwalk Advisors, Deep Science Ventures and SyndicateRoom.
About The Institute of Cancer Research
The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is one of the world’s most influential cancer research organisations. Scientists and clinicians at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) are working every day to make a real impact on cancer patients’ lives. Through its unique partnership with The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and ‘bench-to-bedside’; approach, the ICR is able to create and deliver results in a way that other institutions cannot. Together the two organisations are rated in the top four centres for cancer research and treatment globally. The ICR has an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. It provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today it is a world leader at identifying cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment. The ICR is a charity and relies on support from partner organisations, funders, and the general public. A member institution of the University of London, it is one of the UK’s leading higher education institutions, placing first for biological sciences and second overall in the definitive REF 2021 rankings of UK university research quality, impact and environment, and provides postgraduate higher education of international distinction. The ICR’s mission is to make the discoveries that defeat cancer. For more information visit ICR.ac.uk.
About Durham University
Durham University is a globally outstanding centre of teaching and research based in historic Durham City in the UK. We are a collegiate university committed to inspiring our people to do outstanding things at Durham and in the world. We conduct research that improves lives globally and we are ranked as a world top 100 university with an international reputation in research and education (QS World University Rankings 2024). We are a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities and we are consistently ranked as a top 10 university in national league tables (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, Guardian University Guide and The Complete University Guide). For more information about Durham University visit: www.durham.ac.uk/about/.
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, is creating a better future by inspiring, involving and investing in businesses developing life-changing innovations. We provide targeted sectors with expertise, facilities and funding to test, demonstrate and evolve their ideas, driving UK productivity and economic growth. Join our network and communities of innovators to realise the potential of your ideas and accelerate business growth. Innovate UK: inspiring business innovation.