Startup Profile: Healx

  • Healx is a MedTech firm based in Cambridge, UK. 
  • Dr David Brown, co-creator of Viagra, and biochemical engineer Dr Tim Guilliams founded Healx in 2014.
  • They aim to advance treatments for 100 rare diseases by 2025 using AI technology.


About Healx


Healx is a Cambridge-based MedTech firm which aims to cure rare diseases using artificial intelligence. The founders, Dr David Brown and Dr Tim Guilliams, were aware of the complexity of working to cure rare diseases and the disinterest from big Pharma companies. Big pharmaceutical companies pay little attention to finding treatments for diseases that only affect very few people because they are deemed unprofitable. However, the 7,000 different rare conditions discovered, together affect 350 million people, according to the organisation Global Genes. Despite rare diseases affecting one in twenty people worldwide, 95 per cent of them have no approved treatment. Healx aims to change these figures. The founders aim to find cures for 100 rare diseases by 2025.


Healx team
The Healx team has 46 employees.



How does it work?


The MedTech firm developed the Healx’s Healnet, one of the world’s most comprehensive knowledge bases for diseases. It uses machine learning to gather data from a range of sources, including scientific papers and clinical trials. Healnet then maps more than a billion of these unique data points to connect diseases, patients and treatments. The automated process significantly reduces the time and cost to discover drugs. 

The AI platform Healnet focuses on rare cancers and rare neurological conditions. The technology has already seen success. Most recently, the platform discovered a drug for the fragile X Syndrome, in collaboration with FRAXA, the patient group. The drug found by Healx’s Healnet was ready for the clinic in less than 15 months. This process saw an 80 per cent cut in the typical drug development timelines and substantially reduced costs. The doctors also found that the treatment helps with another disease. Dr Guilliams states: ‘fragile X treatments can help with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome. We’ve even treated patients that are resistant to current drugs.’

The success of the AI platform Healnet is said to shorten the discovery-to-clinic timeline to as little as 24 months, a massive leap for drug development. 



Healx raises £42.82million in Series B funding


 In October, they raised £42.82million in a Series B financing round led by Atomico. Previous investors, such as Balderton Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners and Jonathan Miller, also participated in the round. The money will go towards developing Healx’s therapeutic pipeline and launching its global Rare Treatment Accelerator Programme.