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Newly licensed semantic link prediction technology promises advance in drug discovery


INDIANAPOLIS — Data2Discovery Inc., an early-stage technology company co-founded by two faculty members from the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, David Wild and Ying Ding, as well as the Innovate Indiana Fund, was recently created to commercialize semantic link association prediction, or SLAP. The novel technology licensed by the IU Research and Technology Corp. is designed to find hidden associations between drugs and gene targets based on a statistical analysis of networks and data paths across many data sets.

Data2Discovery scientists have demonstrated how diverse public data sets pertaining to drugs, compounds, genes, pathways and disease side effects can be intelligently integrated from a multitude of proprietary, commercial and public data and searched using semantic technologies; as well as how powerful new graph and statistical algorithms can find important new relationships between drugs, genes and side effects. The technologies promise a major advance in predicting adverse events, toxicology and opportunities for repurposing existing drugs. The company is in negotiations with multiple pharmaceutical companies as well as health care data providers.

“There are huge, unmet opportunities in the intelligent use of complex, integrated data in drug discovery and health care, and we are excited to be one of the early leaders in this field,” said Wild, co-founder and chief scientific officer for Data2Discovery.

Data2Discovery was formed in response to the pharmaceutical industry’s need for more integrated, advanced ways of predicting the biological effects of drugs and potential drugs.

Using its novel SLAP technology, Data2Discovery is collaborating with the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute to create a map of hidden molecular connections of type 2 diabetes by profiling compounds and targets with end points to make supportive predictions about the disease’s impact.

Data2Discovery is also working with a large pharmaceutical company to apply its SLAP technology to drug toxicity by showing how to make predictions of adverse drug events based on many different kinds of data.

“It is an interesting moment when we can turn big data into a useful resource to better understand the connections among drugs, diseases and our own genes,” said Ding, co-founder and chief technology officer for Data2Discovery. “Our technologies are dedicated to empowering the intelligent analytics that turn big data into big knowledge.”

Data2Discovery’s partner, the Innovate Indiana Fund, is a $10 million Indianapolis-based venture capital fund that invests in growing Indiana University-affiliated startups. The fund invests in early-stage opportunities and helps its portfolio companies reach commercial success using both infusions of capital and the application of its expertise in company formation.

“The Innovate Indiana Fund is committed to advancing entrepreneurship in a variety of sectors, including biotechnology and information technology, by finding the best and brightest start-ups in the state,” said Ken Green, managing director of the Innovate Indiana Fund. “The research and development work that is being conducted by Data2Discovery is not only innovative, it is also contributing to Indiana’s growth as a life sciences hub.”

The Innovate Indiana Fund is a seed stage focused venture fund that invests in growing Indiana University-affiliated startups by providing equity capital and domain expertise to technology-enabled businesses. The $10 million fund invests in early-stage opportunities and has funded companies in a variety of sectors including biotechnology and information technology since its founding in 2009. Located in Indianapolis, the fund works closely with the Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. to help Indiana University further commercialize the technologies, inventions and intellectual capital originating from one of the top research institutions in the nation.