Researchers at Ben-Gurion University create machine learning platform to improve clinical trials

Prof. Boaz Lerner and his team have developed a new way to test clinical trials at a lower cost, while improving their success rate and efficiency

Yafit Ovadia 10:2426.10.20
Ben-Gurion University researchers have partnered up with a medical startup, Panacea to create new technology that streamlines clinical trials - improving their efficiency, lowering their cost, and increasing success rates of drugs or medical devices by shortening their development process. Prof. Boaz Lerner is both Panacea’s founder and a lecturer and researcher at the university’s department of industrial engineering and management. Panacea was founded in conjunction with the school’s entrepreneurship center, Yazamut360, which helps students and faculty launch startups.


Panacea’s tool increases machine learning to improve the chance of a clinical trial’s odds to emerge successful, by examining a patient population and tracking certain markers. In addition, the entire clinical trial is tested and is given pre-trial recommendations, insights, and post-trial revelations. Finally, proposals are made for possible areas of improvement in the event the trial fails.


Boaz Lerner of Panacea and Ben-Gurion University. Photo: Dani Machlis Boaz Lerner of Panacea and Ben-Gurion University. Photo: Dani Machlis
Lerner added that clinical trials haven’t seen much change in the way they are carried out historically, and continue to be defined by their high costs and low chances of success.


“Our platform is highly beneficial for pharma and biotech companies, enabling them to increase efficiency and the chances of success by streamlining the trial and selecting the optimal participants and markers. Conversely, we can also help in understanding when to terminate a trial and what lessons can be derived from a failed trial,” he said.


So far, the technology has been used to test several types of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons’, and ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It has also improved findings, by grouping patients into separate groups and subgroups, and analyzing them individually and their progression of their disease, and helps to foresee the rate of deterioration or any patterns that may yield light on a patient’s condition or others like it.


CEO of BGN Technologies Josh Peleg noted that more companies should turn to machine learning and AI to assist them in making better and faster decisions, while improving their research.


"In the age of artificial intelligence and machine learning, it seems only natural that drug development should benefit from these sophisticated tools that can take into account large amounts of data, and integrate and analyze numerous parameters in order to optimize clinical trials and increase their probability of success.”


BGN Technologies has held joint partnerships with large companies such as PayPal Holdings Inc., Lockheed Martin Corp., Deutsche Telekom AG, Dell-EMC, and IBM, among others.