Irish-founded Ochre Bio teams up with GSK to tackle liver disease

13 Jun 2024

Image: © Ilya/

The two companies plan to deepen their understanding of liver biology and use datasets to create more advanced AI models for experiments.

Oxford-based start-up Ochre Bio has entered a multi-year data licence agreement with GSK to learn more about liver disease.

Through this agreement, GSK will have access to Ochre Bio’s computational biology, cellular and perfused human organ platforms to generate human liver datasets. It will also give GSK non-exclusive access to Ochre Bio’s extensive library of historical liver data. The deal has a total value of up to $37.5m for both co-exclusive and non-exclusive data licences.

Ochre Bio was founded by Quin Wills and Athlone native Jack O’Meara in 2019. The company is looking to improve the viability of donor livers, testing RNA treatments on donated human livers that can be kept alive for several days inside the lab.

The goal of this new collaboration is for both Ochre Bio and GSK to deepen their understanding of liver biology and to accelerate the development of medicines to address liver disease. The data will be used by these companies to build better AI models, in the hope of developing more precise experiments.

“Data innovation is as important as algorithmic innovation when investing in ML [machine learning] workflows,” said CEO O’Meara. “Both Ochre Bio and GSK share a commitment to providing liver disease patients with more effective medicines and believe in a data-driven approach to improve therapeutic discovery.

“These large-scale, causal human datasets will be foundational for our respective liver R&D pipelines.”

Kim Branson, SVP and global head of AI and machine learning at GSK, said Ochre Bio’s platform will provide GSK with foundational data sets to create AI models and help the pharma giant to “better understand liver function and disease for the development of novel medicines”.

In 2022, Ochre Bio raised $30m in a Series A funding round to find new treatments for chronic liver disease. Last year, O’Meara was one of the Irish entrepreneurs listed on the Forbes 30 under 30 list for Europe.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic