Healx has announced that applications are now being accepted for its Rare Treatment Accelerator (RTA), a new programme focused on finding new treatments for rare diseases by partnering with selected rare disease patient groups.

The AI-powered and patient-inspired technology company has backed the project with a total of $20m funding injection, intending to invest up to $1m of that in AI and drug discovery resources per disease project.

In addition to the funding, the company has announced that Dr Bruce Bloom will head up existing collaborations and seeking out new global partnership opportunities. On his appointment, he commented that “In today’s world, prioritising patient needs is vital”, going on to explain that “95% of rare diseases, afflicting 400 million people worldwide, currently do not have approved treatments and Healx’s Rare Treatment Accelerator programme provides great promise to significantly reduce this number.”

Since 2014, the organisation has been working with a number of patient groups, a relationship that’s becoming increasingly important within the pharma industry. As a result of the the partnership, Healx says that the two have a chance to work together to quickly develop repurposed drug treatments using AI.

Applications for the programme are now open, and patient groups working in the rare diseases sector can now apply to be considered for the running up until January 2020. The collaboration offers rare disease patient groups and clinicians the opportunity to work with Healx to uncover new treatments for rare disease, combining their data, AI capabilities and disease expertise to discover new treatments and move them towards the clinic within 24 months.