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Using AI & Machine Learning, Indo-German company Innoplexus is helping reduce the time it takes for medicines to reach patients

Team YS
13th Mar 2018
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Making more people aware about clinical trials that identify data patterns on usage of a particular drug to discover if it can be repurposed and used for faster treatment of serious terminal illnesses. 

This is just one of the ways in which Innoplexus is harnessing the enormous power of data using Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and continuous data analytics -- to reduce the time in which a drug can reach a patient.

“We want to help science win. Every day, the amount of structured and unstructured data grows in an unmanageable amount, and not much is being done about it to turn these unconnected information into actionable insights. Once we have access to this deep and dense universe of data, we can help bring it together in a way that makes sense. Because every industry uses their own semantic and contextual language concepts. That’s why we are not searching for keywords but build domain specific ontologies,” says Kumar Anshu, CEO of Innoplexus, India.

The company was founded in 2011 in India by two IIT Bombay alumni, Dr Gunjan Bhardwaj and Gaurav Tripathi. Today, Innoplexus is headquartered in Germany and has a significant presence across Europe and the US. But their main think tank and product development capacities are in India.

Anshu, who came on board as the CEO of Innoplexus, India, in August 2017, shares, “We had identified how the available technologies and models were helping enterprises make decisions, but this was happening with fixed cycles of information processing, in limited batches, with little flexibility and agility. A lot of data was curated manually. But today, the deep, dense and diverse data makes manual collection and curation nearly impossible. At Innoplexus, we enable companies with real-time access to relevant, actionable insights, in a comprehensive and cost-effective manner.”

At present, their primary focus is on healthcare and life sciences, though they are venturing into other verticals as well. “We created our own data lake and are a one-stop solution for all life sciences data. On top of this, we build easy-to-use interactive applications to create business intelligence, which helps create a previously unrealised resource for the industry,” says Anshu.

Connecting data from various sources to give the big picture

Innoplexus offers Data as a Service (DaaS) and Continuous Analytics as a Service (CAaS) products and solutions using proprietary AI technology, which enables crawling through massive amounts of structured and unstructured data from the web as well as enterprise sources, aggregating them according to specific use cases, and analysing them for patterns, relations, and entities. The results are then visualised using an interactive and intuitive interface. “This means that users don’t need to spend months getting that data or investing in proprietary systems like they would with traditional data solutions,” he says.

Further explaining their solutions, Anshu says, “One of our core products for pharma and life sciences, iPlexusTM, is an end-to-end platform that generates intelligence and insights across all phases of drug development across therapeutic areas and indications. The platform has more than 300 terabytes of crawled and indexed scientific data adding more to it every day. Through iPlexusTM, we want to facilitate better ways of discovering, exploring and analysing biomedical research. It offers confidence that the researcher will not miss any significant information that might impact his/her research later. There is value in getting information readily and as soon as it is available -- more so in research, as it can totally change the path of the work that happens next.”

Another flagship product, the kPlexusTM platform facilitates easy discovery and management of millions of profiles of key opinion leaders (KOLs) working in specific areas of medical research, which would otherwise be a difficult and time-consuming task for global companies relying on limited personal knowledge or biased peer surveys.

If clients need custom applications on top of the platform, Innoplexus provides them the technology, infrastructure, and support needed. “We are working towards creating a strong development ecosystem to help foster more innovation. The main goal is to make the access to and consumption of data seamless, while providing continuous insights through intuitive interfaces,” says Anshu.

When asked what sets them apart from others in this space, Anshu says they combine the best of both worlds. “Some companies working in the space are still known for their manually-curated scientific intelligence and competitive intelligence from expert analysts. On the other hand, the increasing sophistication of one of the biggest search-engines worldwide allows automated comparison of criteria to billions of data points and provides results in a fraction of a second.” Innoplexus, according to the company’s India CEO, is building its products and capabilities in a way that combines the capabilities of both these methods.

Looking beyond geographies and verticals

According to Anshu, while it has been a challenge to convince more people to trust the insights generated by machines, they’ve been successful in doing that through showcasing, demo trials and educational selling of their solutions. “If you want to disrupt an industry or a process it always means that people must think differently and change their habits. Therefore, we need to cross the belief barrier and make users believe that the results generated by machines can be better at times than those generated by humans.”

Looking to expand its global footprint, the company recently started operations in New Jersey, US, and established an experienced key account management team in Europe for its Life Sciences and Pharma clients. In the realm of vertical expansion, they’ve worked on projects with financial services companies, and are keen to explore further activities in this area. Of course, being a technology-driven company, they’re also experimenting with new technologies like blockchain to further refine their offerings.

Currently, their client list includes top pharma and financial services companies in Europe and the Americas, but they are considering adding more industries and governmental organisations, which could be facing the same challenges. “We are ambitious and want to follow the path of fast growth. Our focus has evolved from country to continent to a global scale, and also from specific industries to a wider industry approach. Globally, we want to enable our customers to succeed in a competitive market by delivering real time access to broader, deeper and faster insights derived from the full picture of relevant data, allowing them to make the best decisions.”

A team built with programming skills and much more

Anshu says that apart from technological skills, as a company Innoplexus also places importance on qualities such as innovation, fearlessness, learnability, and integrity, which are an intrinsic part of their culture. “We have a team of over 150 people with a presence in Europe, the US, and India. We are aggressively expanding to meet the demands of our clients and would like to welcome the top talents of the continents who can ride the next wave of AI to join us.”

Sharing insights into the kind of team they are building, he says, “Our people need to have a strong understanding of our customers’ industries to develop our ontologies, algorithms and products. Next to strong professional skills and talents, we need people with the right attitude who are a cultural fit. It is not only about your knowledge of a programming language. It is also about contributing to best in class products, and a love for small details to create a wow effect for our customers.”

According to him, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, one of the business leaders he admires, is a great example of how AI and ML work in real life. “He is proud to say that he failed 30 times, and implements those real life learnings into his business,” explains Anshu, drawing parallels with how utilising insights derived from AI and ML can make help organisations become more successful.

With an avid interest in stand-up comedy (he’s even performed on stage occasionally), Anshu believes in the power of humour to positively impact a workplace. In fact, in 2015 he had started an initiative named “Productive Humour” to help organisations be more productive and engaged, by using humour-based scientific frameworks. He says he is putting some of those frameworks into place at Innoplexus, and is seeing positive results. “Humour helps break the ice and makes it easier for people to be more approachable. They talk about their challenges openly, thereby brining organisational synergy and velocity required for the superfast yet sustainable growth,” he says

Have there been any ‘Aha’ moments that he remembers? “At this stage where technology is changing rapidly, and needs are also changing at the same pace, we are still evolving as a company. So it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we go through more “Aah” moments (around 80 percent) compared to “Aha” moments,” he says with his characteristic humour. However, he adds, the hardships are necessary to achieve even the 20 percent “Aha” moments, which eventually make it worthwhile.

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