Posted: 20/07/20

Dublin, 20 July 20202: With so much medical literature out there it's very hard for doctors and researchers to successfully keep up with it all. Biologit is creating a solution, using artificial intelligence, that will make medical care safer for patients and make research more efficient in the realm of pharmacovigilance. Last week, ADAPT Radio host Donal Scannell interviewed Nicole Baker, the project’s co-founder, and learned about how it all got started. The episode is available on our SoundCloud channel or wherever you get your podcasts. 

Searching for information on drug interactions or side effects poses a real challenge for most doctors and other professionals. Biologit’s AI engine is able to filter out redundant information to provide all the relevant information in an easily accessible form for its users. The Biologit AI collects information and data about problems in medications, creating a database of scientific research detailing these problems and provides a faster and more efficient way to collect this data. 

As Nicole Baker highlights on the podcast, “Innovation doesn't really happen that well in regulated environments.” As a result, bringing a new and novel AI tool into the field of pharmacovigilance presents a fantastic opportunity to make a positive social and scientific impact. 

Pharmacovigilance is the science behind the safety of medication. Any sort of ‘event’ that happens to patients taking a particular medication needs to be monitored and recorded. The records of these events can be in the personal patient records, insurance claims, etc., but the source of information Biologit uses to power its AI is the scientific literature: medical papers and journals. 

This is a large source of accessible data that pharmaceutical companies are required to monitor for any adverse events. Searches typically return large volumes of results, not all of which are relevant to medication safety. Nicole points out a search done for paracetamol, for example, will return millions of results, but it may not all be relevant safety related information. These searches are done manually on a weekly basis by staff and it is a very laborious and slow task. By using the Biologit AI, this process is significantly sped up and accuracy improved through automation.

Biologit is a spin-in to the ADAPT Centre, funded by Enterprise Ireland under its Commercialisation Fund program, and headed up by Professor Lucy Hederman in Trinity College Dublin. This commercialisation project is run jointly by Dr Nicole Baker and Dr Bruno Ohana. Professor Lucy Hederman brings her expertise in electronic healthcare data as the scientific lead in the Biologit Project. Nicole Baker is an immunologist specialising in pharmacovigilance. Bruno Ohana is a computer science expert, specialising in artificial intelligence. 

Nicole's first hand view of the industry, provided her the perspective to see the gap in the market allowing for Biologit. She quit her job and convinced Bruno to quit his, together they worked on bringing Biologit to fruition, helping us take a new step towards more efficient healthcare.

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