Systems Oncology is using AI to innovate drug discovery & development

Language: English

Repost from AZ Business Magazine September/October 2020 (p.110) here:

2020 AZBio Fast Lane Honoree: Systems Oncology

Working to discover a new drug is one of the most challenging scientific pursuits.  The Human Genome Project promised to accelerate our understanding of human and to uncover the genetic basis of diseases. In the case of cancers however, complex multiple genomic changes occur as cancer cells evolve, and these gene changes cooperate in complex control systems that are not fully understood yet. The numbers of ways the multitude of molecular changes in cancer genomes can interact in complex cellular control systems is larger than the number of stars in the universe, and far beyond what the human imagination can process or comprehend.

Systems Oncology (SO) has taken on that important challenge using a next-generation Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform for translating massively complex scientific data into useful biological insights and novel cancer therapies with unprecedented speed, scale, and precision. SO’s team of world-class experts come from fields ranging from mathematics and AI to cancer systems biology to combine multi-scalar systems modeling with machine learning and big-data. This unique combination of talent and technology has successfully uncovered multiple breakthrough therapeutic insights into cancer biology. The SO team then draws on its deep scientific and clinical experience to translate those novel insights to discover and develop innovative therapeutics with curative potential.

Today, SO is managing a rapidly growing pipeline of more than 10 innovative cancer therapeutic programs, many of which are being developed collaboratively through partnerships with leading academic partners worldwide.  They then form industry partnerships with pharmaceutical companies who advance the programs through regulatory and commercialization success.  One example of this is an out-licensing collaboration with Toray, a public Japanese company, on a novel drug that is projected to be effective across many cancer indications. SO is currently in negotiations with one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world to advance a very promising breast cancer drug into the clinic.

SO has earned a reputation as a top AI-drug discovery company.  The team has been invited to present at prestigious conferences and SO has been featured in multiple industry reports.  As SO’s reputation has grown, so has the impact in the industry.  In 2019, the company moved its headquarters to the Biomedical Collaborative Research Building in Scottsdale, Arizona to house its growing team and to expand its research infrastructure and capacity.  A major investment from The Pritzker Organization is helping to support the company’s growth and its rapidly expanding pipeline of innovative cancer therapeutics.

“We have made tremendous advances in cancer treatment in the last 20 years, but for all of our progress, there are still too many cancer patients waiting for us  to discover the precise treatment that will be effective for their unique cancer,” stated AZBio president & CEO Joan Koerber-Walker.  “Systems Oncology is being honored with a 2020 AZBio Fast Lane Award for their ability to speed up the process of identifying promising new treatments so that in the future we will have the more effective medicines available when patients need them.”

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About Systems Oncology

Systems Oncology, LLC (SO) is an AI-based cancer therapy discovery and development company.  SO has a multidisciplinary team of scientists and a revolutionary cognitive computing platform (Expansive.AI) able to intelligently integrate, model, and mine big data from hundreds of molecular, genomic, and biomedical datasets.  This new kind of computational data mining has empowered the SO team to rapidly extract many therapeutically useful insights from complex multi-scalar systems models of cancer biology.  This scalable data-driven approach has been used by SO to translate many unique biological insights into dozens of discovery projects and research collaborations with leading universities, producing one of the fastest growing pipelines of innovative cancer therapies in the industry. For more information, go to

Media Contact
Systems Oncology
Katy Marhenke