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Owkin heads to Basel

15.10.2021

The Franco-US startup Owkin is growing in the Basel Area. The company develops solutions for the life sciences industry on the basis of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

The founders of Owkin: Thomas Clozel (left) and Gilles Wainrib (img: Owkin)

Owkin is seeking to secure growth across Europe and further beyond. For this reason, the startup is setting up a new branch office located in Basel. Before now, the company operated out of locations in France, the USA and the UK, developing solutions for the life sciences industry on the basis of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Federated Learning. The latter is a field of Machine Learning. With these solutions, the company aims to drive forward developments in the area of precision medicine in particular.

In Federated Learning, the focus is on working with various local data sets, whereas a central data set is used in Machine Learning. This has advantages in terms of data protection. Owkin brings researchers and hospitals together with life science companies via its platform, encouraging them to collaborate on the discovery and development of new drugs in the process. For this, the company uses patient data that is protected by Federated Learning. With this approach, Owkin has already raised 70 million US dollars in venture capital.

The company was founded in 2016 by Gilles Wainrib and Thomas Clozel. Wainrib is an expert in the use of AI in biological areas, while Clozel works as a doctor in the field of clinical research. He is the son of Martine and Jean-Paul Clozel, the founders of Actelion and Idorsia based in Allschwil in the canton of Basel-Landschaft.

Offering one of Europe’s largest life sciences clusters, Basel is highly attractive as a location to Owkin. Here, the company can find numerous potential partners that stand to benefit from its solutions. Moreover, Owkin is looking to capitalize on the exceptionally well-educated specialists in the region to support its further growth course. “Owkin‘s mission is to develop cutting-edge AI technologies that help doctors to find the right treatment for every patient. But to achieve that, we must work closely with pharmaceutical partners, hospitals and research institutions across the world”, explains Sezai Taskin, SVP of Strategic Business Development at Owkin, who is based in Basel, before adding: “Establishing a presence in Basel – Owkin‘s fourth, after France, the United States and the United Kingdom – will enable us to connect with leading partners, while also helping to attract more of the best talent possible.”

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