Digital technologies have brought innumerable advances in healthcare. Tools like internet-connected devices and software have dramatically changed how we provide healthcare in ways that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago. Luís Valente, founder of the UK-based startup iLoF, joins Startup Savants to discuss how his company uses biological data and artificial intelligence (AI) to help create better treatments targeted to individuals.
- Startup Savants is a business podcast that tells the stories behind up-and-coming startups.
- Luís Valente joins Startup Savants to discuss launching his medtech startup.
- iLof is a startup that uses biological data and AI to help create better treatments targeted to individuals.
Different Treatments for Different Patients
During his interview with Startup Savants, Valente explained that he got the idea for his company after realizing that for centuries, healthcare providers have assumed everyone with a given condition would be equally well served by the same treatment.
However, that simply isn’t true. It is now well known that different patients with the same condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease, can have different responses to a particular medication. This, Valente said, has begun to change the way medications are developed.
“For the past 20 years, there’s been more than 400 tries to get a successful and disease-modifying [Alzheimer’s] treatment into the market, and they mostly all failed for various reasons,” he said during his interview. “So, it’s really important to develop medications that are tailored to specific patient groups, and this is basically what iLoF was born to do.”
In this regard, the company’s mission is to help biotech and pharmaceutical researchers better understand the patients that need their medications and treatments. In doing so, “We are cutting the time and the cost that it takes them to create these medications, and hopefully this will allow millions of patients currently living with complex neurological diseases to finally get a treatment that it’s actually useful for them,” he said.
The Key Is Data Collection
At first, iLoF plans to focus on neurodegenerative diseases because they are becoming more common. To help encourage the creation of better treatments that are tailored to individuals, the company uses AI to collect huge amounts of data from patients’ biological profiles. Genomics is often used to do this, but iLoF’s approach is different.
“Collecting data on genomics only gives you half of the picture,” he said during his interview. “It’s very [good at] telling you what can happen to your body, but it’s not so useful in telling you how your profile changes as you grow old and make different lifestyle choices.” Because of these limitations, iLoF is “using optical data – let’s say spectrums, the way that the light interacts with patients’ biological fluids – to understand the ensemble of particles in patients’ biological fluids.”
Important particles in someone’s blood that could reveal how they would respond to a particular treatment include proteins, exosomes, peptides, and others. The company collects relevant data and shares it with pharmaceutical and biotech companies. This frees up those companies to spend more time developing new medications.
Startup Savants Podcast
The Startup Savants podcast is a business podcast created by The Really Useful Information Company (TRUiC). Listeners can hear the stories behind startups, as told by their founders, who are in the midst of growing their companies.
Ethan, an entrepreneur, and Annaka, a branding expert, host the Startup Savants podcast. They bring disparate skills and life experiences to their interviews, providing listeners with important business insights and a holistic perspective on the startup ecosystem.
Hear from a variety of real startup founders from around the globe and with varying backgrounds about making their startup ideas a reality. Learn from experts sharing their industry knowledge on venture capital, securing funding, and more on the Startup Savants podcast.
Luís Valente joins Annaka and Ethan to talk about iLof, his startup that uses biological data to help create better treatments targeted to individuals. Luís shares his insights on building credibility, finding initial funding, and why you should choose investors and mentors wisely.