Biologit: Machine learning and AI to monitor medical literature

13 Nov 2023

CEO and co-founder Nicole Baker. Image: Biologit

Founded in 2021 by Nicole Baker and Bruno Ohana, Dublin-based Biologit has been helping companies automate the monitoring of scientific literature.

“Whether it is human medicines or medical devices, monitoring health products for safety is a very important part of keeping patients safe,” says Nicole Baker, an immunologist by background who started her own company to help life sciences firms automate safety monitoring.

“Adverse events are one of the top causes of hospitalisation and can lead to serious health issues. Hence, regulators around the world pay very close attention to the surveillance of health products.”

Baker, who co-founded Biologit with tech expert Bruno Ohana, specialises in the field of pharmacovigilance, which involves reviewing the vast number of medical extracts published each year and forums on social media to identify any red flags regarding adverse effects of drugs on the market.

This, combined with her experience working in the biotech and pharma industries, helped Baker create Biologit two years ago, leveraging AI to help keep patients safe by simplifying the detection of adverse events from drug development to post-market.

“At Biologit, we specialise in cutting-edge active safety surveillance solutions across the life sciences spectrum. We do that by combining expert domain knowledge with the latest technology to build solutions that help keep patients safe,” she explains.

The idea is to help companies of all sizes and at any stage of clinical development automate the comprehensive and time-consuming task of monitoring scientific literature.

Everything was built from the ground up’

With its roots in Trinity College Dublin, where the technology was first incubated, Biologit was part of Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme, in which Baker participated in 2019. She then went on to participate in Big Ideas 2020.

The company’s first product, Biologit MLM-AI, was developed by iterating with early adopters to build a solution that is fit for the needs of the industry.

“From the user experience to the AI, everything was built from the ground up with domain experts. This has given us insights on how to apply AI to solve the problems that mattered most to our users while maintaining high levels of compliance in a regulated industry,” Baker explains.

“Because we tackled the challenges of the entire safety surveillance workflow, our platform has the unique ability to deliver high levels of automation and productivity gains.”

According to her, MLM-AI includes a “rich and comprehensive” scientific literature database which contains more than 45m citations and is “growing every day”.

“Our users can benefit from the Biologit database out of the box to run their searches, reducing friction and costs.”

Growth and expansion

After launching MLM-AI last year, Baker and Ohana worked on onboarding its first customers. This year, the focus has been more on customer acquisition and growth, Baker says, as the team has increased its presence on industry forums and other online channels.

“We continue to onboard new customers and we’re building a user base that is quite global,” Baker says, adding that she has no interest in raising investment at the moment. “We’ve put a lot of energy in hiring too and have been very fortunate to build a stellar team to help us deliver for our customers and grow Biologit into the future.”

Earlier this year, the Dublin-headquartered start-up announced plans to “at least double” its team in 2023 following a successful €2m funding round led by Enterprise Ireland. At the time, it had 14 employees based across Ireland, India, Poland, France, Spain and the Philippines.

While for Baker the main challenge in running Biologit is finding the time to do the most important tasks, Ohana said there have been a few exciting challenges for the team as a whole.

“There were lots of fun challenges since we started, and they have evolved with the different stages of the company: can we build the technology, can we find good market fit and the right business model, will the platform scale as we grow,” said Ohana, an expert in machine learning.

“It is really nice to get to think about all that, and a great learning experience. Our customers expect a very high standard of security, compliance, and that we continue to innovate for them, we’re now putting the structure in place to so that we can do those things as we scale.”

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic