Software

How Vyasa Is Using Deep Learning Software To Help The Pharmaceutical Industry Advance R&D

Vyasa Analytics is known for being the provider of deep learning software and analytics for life sciences and healthcare companies. Earlier this year, Vyasa announced the launch of Cortex — which is a highly scalable platform for collaborative knowledge discovery and data analytics. Cortex utilizes artificial intelligence to organize data and provide insights for project teams.

With Vyasa’s proprietary Neural Concept Recognition technology, Cortex can identify concepts across siloed data without having to reformat warehousing efforts in a way that is similar to artificial intelligence being used to recognize objects and people in images. In the context of life sciences, it includes information about therapeutics, genes, proteins and types of diseases. As a result, Cortex can help life sciences organizations advance their research, and healthcare organizations create better diagnoses, understand symptoms, identify cost savings, and reduce readmissions and side effects.

Dr. Christopher Bouton, the founder and CEO of Vyasa Analytics, earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Neurobiology from Johns Hopkins University. When Dr. Bouton was younger, he lived in India for four years and developed respect for a figure in Hindu traditions named Vyasa, hence the name of the company. To learn more about Vyasa, I interviewed Dr. Bouton.

Vyasa Analytics

Vyasa Analytics founder and CEO Dr. Christopher Bouton

Dr. Bouton told me that at John Hopkins, he conducted both molecular biological research as well as computational biology. After that, he became the Head of Integrative Data Mining at Pfizer for five years before founding Entagen in 2008. Entagen is a Big Data analytics company that Thomson Reuters acquired in 2013. Dr. Bouton left Thomson Reuters in 2016 and decided to pursue a few creative projects. One of the most interesting experiences he had was building an art car called ForestHouse for Burning Man and music festivals.

I took an interest in Dr. Bouton’s experience living in India, as I spent a good amount of time living there and my parents immigrated from India to the U.S. in the 1970s. When I asked him to describe the experience, Dr. Bouton said that his mom grew up near Bangalore and his dad did his doctoral work in India.

“I lived in New Delhi for four years as a boy, from age four to eight. While I lived there, I developed a great respect for the many belief systems and writings of Hindu and broader Indian culture. Vyasa is a highly-revered figure in Hindu dharma. As the key compiler and storyteller of sacred Hindu texts, Vyasa brought together knowledge from across many sources,” said Dr. Bouton. “I loved that idea and wanted to relate it to how AI systems can also help us compile information from disparate sources. Our data today has the ability to tell us important valuable stories, and novel technologies such as deep learning can help us unlock those stories.”

After realizing how much he loved applying cutting-edge technologies in the life sciences and healthcare verticals, Dr. Bouton decided to launch Vyasa.

“I fundamentally believe in the potential to have a positive impact on humanity in these spaces, and I get really excited by how cutting-edge technologies can help us accelerate research and development. When we were building Entagen, deep learning systems didn’t exist in the form they do today, so Vyasa is an opportunity to do something completely new,” Dr. Bouton added.

As he was launching Vyasa, Dr. Bouton said that he wanted to ensure that the technology would have real-world value and game-changing capabilities for its users. So he talked to many people and matched their pain points to the capabilities Vyasa found to be possible with new technologies.

Vyasa Analytics

Screenshot of Vyasa Analytics

As Vyasa understands key use cases better and better, the company is continuing to build out the UX/UI for the front end of Cortex along with the backend deep learning engine called Layar. Layar is a secure and self-contained scalable artificial intelligence that drives everything Cortex does.

When I asked Dr. Bouton who some of Vyasa customers and partners are, he mentioned MilliporeSigma. MilliporeSigma is the Life Science business of Merck KGaA, known for solving challenges in research, manufacturing and testing. By using technology and analytics solutions, Dr. Bouton said that customers can make better use of their data and advance their research and development goals. MilliporeSigma has been using Cortex to design a wide range of analytics modules in order to help clients “create novel therapeutics, molecules and more.” Dr. Bouton pointed out that Vyasa will be working with 10-12 clients this year on similar projects.

Vyasa Analytics

Screenshot of Vyasa Analytics

“We’re in such a novel space that much of our feedback has to do with the excitement that a computer can now recognize concepts, patterns and relationships in data for us. ‘Wait, you can do THAT now?’ is a typical refrain. Things like keyword searching through text was literally the first thing that humans could do with large amounts of data,” added Dr. Bouton in the interview. “Keyword searching is very powerful and has driven some exceptionally profitable business models, but there are now so many more things that are possible with deep learning systems on large, unstructured data sets. These capabilities open up whole new worlds for people trying to gain insights and value from their data sets.”

Vyasa is privately funded and the company started with an initial round of $500,000. The company is projecting over $3 million in revenues this year with about a 30-40 percent margin. “All of our projects are a combination of licensing of the technology and services,” Dr. Bouton pointed out.

According to Statista, the pharmaceutical industry spent around $157 billion on research and development and that figure is expected to increase to more than $180 billion by 2022. And the healthcare analytics market hit $8.69 billion in 2016 with an estimated reach of $33.38 billion by 2022. Based on those numbers, Cortex is poised to capture hundreds of millions of dollars in those markets.

“Another analogy I often use is that of navigation systems in our cars. Navigation systems help us move through a complex information space to enable us to get to an end goal faster and more efficiently with the ability to update and re-route along the way. A.I. systems will enable these same types of capabilities through larger and larger information spaces, but the human will still strategically identify what the end goal needs to be, and how to achieve it,” Dr. Bouton concluded. “At Vyasa, our goal is to build deep learning systems that allow humanity to use data efficiently and solve problems that matter. Next steps for the company are all about the projects we’re working on. We want to make sure our technologies are effective and providing maximum value so we can make our clients more successful.”

[“Source-forbes”]