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Nucleai, Debiopharm Partner to Discover Histological Biomarkers for Oncology Asset

NEW YORK – Tel Aviv, Israel-based Nucleai and Swiss cancer drug developer Debiopharm on Thursday announced the start of a long-term collaboration to use Nucleai's artificial intelligence-based biomarker discovery platform to identify best responders to one of Debiopharm's clinical-stage oncology assets.

The companies did not disclose the specific asset they will focus on but noted that Debiopharm has "multiple therapeutic development programs in oncology that may benefit from [Nucleai's technology]."

Under the terms of their agreement, Debiopharm will make an upfront payment of an undisclosed amount to Nucleai. The pathology-based biomarker discovery company is also eligible for milestone payments if Debiopharm decides to advance the biomarkers Nucleai identifies into a companion diagnostic for identifying best responders to its drug in clinical trials.

Last year, Debiopharm led Nucleai's Series A financing round, in which the company raised $6.5 million.

The biomarker discovery platform that Nucleai brings to the collaboration is rooted in tissue imaging. The machine-learning elements of the platform effectively model patients' tumors and the characteristics of their immune systems to home in on unique histological biomarkers. The firm uses proprietary datasets of pathology imaging along with clinical data from patients treated in the US and Israel.

"Clinical assets paired to biomarkers are known to improve the success rate of clinical studies," Nucleai Co-founder and CEO Avi Veidman said in a statement. "The future of biomarker discovery and development lies in integrating [AI] and machine-learning techniques, broad and rich data, and biological understanding."