Gaurav Tripathi and Gunjan Bhardwaj are using artificial intelligence to help pharma enterprises make better data-driven decisions and significantly cut drug development time
Four years ago, a multinational pharma R&D company was worried. Would its research on a drug in the pre-clinical phase be commercially viable in the clinical stage? Would the competition’s research bring a better product to the market? The R&D firm had internal data sets outlining the approach used by research teams, but was unsure of where they were heading. The missing link seemed to be the fact that they did not know how their competition had fared with a similar drug.
The data was voluminous and it was not possible for the internal analytics team to compare research strategy from public databases.
That’s when they were visited by Gaurav Tripathi and Gunjan Bhardwaj, who were pitching a data platform to the company. The duo told the MNC that they could look at all the data sets on pre-clinical and clinical stages of the drug across public databases, and correlate their market strategy with that of the competition. They promised the MNC that in two weeks their platform could give the company a better research approach based on clinical and pre-clinical experience of the past.
Those results made the company fine-tune their research and made Innoplexus, set up by Gaurav and Gunjan, a preferred vendor for data sciences.
Today, Innoplexus has grown into a Rs 20-crore company and has more than 100 data science and technology experts working for it. The company raised $3 million last year, has announced the closing of their pre-Series A funding from HCS, a German-based Venture Capital Fund. With the capital, Innoplexus plans to file more patent applications in data sciences, further develop its trademark platform iPlexus, and invest in marketing. The company plans to raise funds amounting to $4 million soon.
But what is Innoplexus?
The founders like to call their company the “intelligence machine”. Innoplexus uses artificial intelligence to significantly cut drug development time, from synthesis to approval.
The platform helps life sciences companies generate actionable insights across pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory and commercial stages of a drug. The unique data-as-a-service (DaaS) engine generates real-time data and insights along with an ecosystem of continuous-analytics-as-a-service (CAaaS) applications, helping enterprises make better data-driven decisions.
Gaurav, the CTO and co-founder of the company, says: “We began our journey as consultants and on the premise that consulting should be automated to provide value by using data on a real-time basis.”
The early days
The foundation for Innoplexus was laid at IIT-Mumbai where Gaurav and Gunjan became friends while setting up a Hindi newspaper at the institute. After their graduation in 2005, the two worked in consulting and various startups before meeting again in the end of 2010 to discuss how best to merge consulting with machine learning.
“The idea was to focus on building products and real IP instead of making money the easier way by taking up all kinds of projects,” Gaurav says.
In initial two years, the duo worked on client consulting and realised that collating real-time data was the future. By the third year, they observed that the pharma industry was in need of understanding public data. They got a big break in 2015 with a customer and started building more products targeting specific business functions in pharma.
The business model
Today, Innoplexus has clients across Europe and the United States.
The company offers analytics as a service and the business model is to charge customers on a pay-as-you-go model.
There are other companies functioning in a similar pattern in the industry, albeit with different business models.
Manthan offers retail analytics on the cloud; Take Solutions, a $150 million Chennai-based company, offers on-premise solutions. Other analytics companies include Fractal and MuSigma, which are some of the largest companies in the industry.
But automating public databases and plugging in research data for actionable insights does not have competition in India.
Praveen Bhadada, partner and global head digital transformation at Zinnov, says: “Analytics and automation is going to be the biggest business over the next decade.”
The opportunity to build a large business in analytics is out there and Innoplexus are set to ride the automation wave.
Read also: The Future of Work