Using Advanced AI to Curate Individualized Cancer Treatments with Navid Alipour, CEO of AI Med Global

 

 

Today, we are chatting with Navid Alipour. Navid is the founder and CEO of AI Med Global. Navid believes that with consistent advancements in the healthcare industry, the best care is even more accessible than ever before. When treating cancer, Oncologists are attempting to match the best course of treatment to the individual but every cancer is as unique as the patient!

His company, AI Med Global is making curated medicine accessible to cancer patients all over the world. By utilizing genetic information and a cleverly programmed AI, the technology behind CureMetrix and CureMatch are saving lives and improving healthcare. 

Listen in this chat with Navid to learn more about how advanced AI is allowing curated individualized treatments for cancer and other exciting progress in the AI and medical industry. 

More about Navid:
Navid Alipour is the Chief Executive Officer at AI Med Global, a company focused on Artificial Intelligence Technology that improves healthcare and helps save lives. AI Med Global is a roll-up of two companies Navid cofounded, CureMetrix and CureMatch. He is also a founder of AI focused VC fund, Analytics Ventures. Through the founding of multiple Artificial Intelligence (AI) companies, Navid is a long-time entrepreneur in the AI space with an emphasis on the convergence of AI and the life sciences, which is also called Wellness Science. He seeks to identify scientists and domain experts in their respective fields to that are solving massive pain problems to take to market, by building companies from inception. While he is a VC and part of the founding of Analytics Ventures, he considers himself an entrepreneur at heart.

Links:
https://conquer-magazine.com/issues/2022/vol-8-no-4-august-2022/1895-precision-medicine-might-have-made-a-difference-for-my-mom-it-could-help-patients-with-cancer-today

https://academic.oup.com/jbi/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/jbi/wbac046/6693780?login=false

https://www.linkedin.com/in/navid-alipour-a295777/

https://aimedglobal.com/


Qualio website:
https://www.qualio.com/

Previous episodes:
https://www.qualio.com/from-lab-to-launch-podcast

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Transcript

Transcript is automatically generated. Please kindly excuse any grammatical and spelling errors. 

Kelly Stanton: 

Hi, I'm Kelly from Qualio and your host here at From Lab to Launch. Thanks for joining the show today. We've published well over 50 interviews at this point with innovators in life sciences across the world. It's been so inspiring to hear the stories of perseverance and innovation to improve human health and save lives. If you've enjoyed our conversations, please consider subscribing and giving us a review on Apple or Spotify. And if you wanna be on From Lab to Launch, please see the application linked in the show notes. Today we are chatting with Navid Alipour. Navid is the founder and CEO of AI Med Global. Navid believes that with consistent advancements in the healthcare industry, the best care is even more accessible than ever before. When treating cancer, oncologists are attempting to match the best course of treatment to the individual. Every cancer is as unique as the patient. His company, AI Med Global, is making curated medicine accessible to cancer patients all over the world by utilizing genetic information in a cleverly programmed ai. The technology behind Cure Metrics and Cure Match are saving lives and improving. I'm thrilled to chat with Navid today and learn more about him as well as AI Med Global. I'm curious to learn more about the portfolio companies Cure Metrics and Cure Match and what they're accomplishing in the industry. Let's bring him in. Thank you for joining us today, Navid.

Navid Alipour: 

Kelly, thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure to be here with you and your listeners.

Kelly Stanton: 

Thank you. Thank you. Share a little bit about your background and the journey that you took to be where you

Navid Alipour: 

are. Sure. Happy to. So, I, I like to joke that, you know, my, my wife and I are the black sheep of the family in that we're not doctors. My fa my father's a cardiologist, both my brothers or doctors, her dad, her stepdad or sister. Her and I went to, you know, the dark side of law and business as they say. However, healthcare has been in my, you know, blood for, you know, forever. And I have the utmost respect for those in the medical field. That are dealing with patients on a day to day to help you know, prolong and save their lives with whatever disease or element they're dealing with. With that, we had started cure metrics and cure match, which I'll get into cure metrics being on our our women's health suite of products to detect breast cancer and heart disease from the same mammogram. So no one else does. And then cure match. We ended up serendipitously, serendipitously starting. I'd like to say it was all masterfully planned, but it wasn't. My business partner got cancer. They essentially said, You have four years to live, but come back next week for chemotherapy. He didn't like the sound of that. And luckily here in our backyard we made, met an amazing lady by the name of Dr. Raelle Krock. She's truly one of the top oncologists in the world, and I'm happy to say my partner is cancer free and because of combination therapies. And that's where we said Dr. Krock this technology belongs to the world, not just for VIP patients that have access to you. Have you thought of starting the company? So that was the genesis, then starting Cure Match. And, and we formed AI Met Global kind of as the umbrella. Parent entity to drive these two businesses in the interest of again, if you wanna prolong lives and save lives, you gotta detect, treat, and monitor better. So we, we detect breast cancer and heart disease on our women's health suite. Cure metrics and cure matches for it's pan cancer, as they say for any man, woman, or child that has unfortunately, Oh

Kelly Stanton: 

wow. That's, that's an amazing story and I always love to hear such a personal drive to, you know, to, to try to change the world and use those technologies for, for better. So you talked a little bit kind of about how ai, you know, is the umbrella organization. So that's again, just really. Sounded in your belief about curated medicine being the norm. Can you talk about that a little bit more?

Navid Alipour: 

Yeah, I mean, I mean the, the, the long and short of it, and I, I, I like my analogy, so forgive me, but, you know, cancer is no, it's like a fingerprint, right? No two fingerprints are the same, or like snowflakes, No. Two snowflakes are exactly the same. And so you can't use the same treatment for any two cancer patients that have, let's say, lung cancer and expect to get the same results. And so that's where we use our very unique proprietary it's called K R R ai, Knowledge, Representation and Reasoning. Artificial Intelligence. So many people are familiar with, you know, nlp, Natural Language Processing and Machine learning ai, where you feed images and dog, cat. And, and you know, it gets trained. So machine learning is an incredible tool. We do use it on our cure metrics suite to detect breast cancer again to the tune to 99% accuracy. And if you said nevi, here's 10 million more mammograms. Do you want them? Of course, I'll, I'll take them. But there's a diminishing rate of return at some point. When you get at that level of accuracy how much better are you going to. Where, what's incredibly unique about the K R R I we use on the cure, cure match suite of products is it's based on that person's specific cancer. And it's important to know we don't touch the physical cancer biopsy. We don't want to, we don't have a lab, we don't have any hardware. Our input is very simply the 31 page pdf. That's called the next Generation sequencing panel, the NGS panel of the cancer patient. And you know, many labs do that from public ones like garden and exact sciences to private ones like Tempus or Estrada and NGS lab, you know, in Canada or Europe or Israel or Asia. That's our input and that's really all we need to then produce our report as a decision support for the oncologist. That says, Okay, if you want to recommend a three drug combination, there's over four and a half million combinations. So it's truly beyond human cognition to process that. It doesn't matter how smart that oncologist is. And so what we do is we ingest that and produce our report that says, based on this person's specific molecular profile of their cancer, from the sequencing that was done, here's the recommended combination of three drug, two drug, one drug combinations. And so that cancer really becomes like, you know, right now it's a death sentence in many ways. But you know, it's becoming more and more like HIV and diabetes where it's not a death sentence immediately. And, and, and people can live with decades with these diseases and in some cases be cured. And, and so that's, that's our battle here against cancer is to, to, to, as the oncologists say, increase the, the pfs and the os, the progression free survival and the overall survival.

Kelly Stanton: 

Gotcha. So, so then that Interesting. As I was sitting here thinking about how your organizations are similar yet different, It's almost like cure metrics is that diagnostic space and then cure matches should you be diagnosed? Right. You would roll over

Navid Alipour: 

into, you know, you, you hit, you hit the nail on the head there, Kelly. So on that premise of if, if, you know, modern medicine's gonna advance more in the next 10 years than the last 50 years combined, which is the consensus out there because of all these advancements in precision medicine, in genomics and more data in the process and hired computing capacity to process that data. And if that's gonna happen, it, it, it's about dtm, detect, treat, monitor, and we gotta do that better on that whole spectrum. And then this vertical integration is happening as bigger companies are rolling up and integrating buying other companies that are touching. On these three parts, detect, treat, and monitor. So Cure Metrics is very much in our diagnostic suite of products and specifically women's health with detecting breast cancer. And then we found, you know, we have a amazing investor and advisor, one of the top cardiologists in the country, if not the world, Dr. Matthew Budoff. And and as he says, you know, early detection of heart disease is in women is huge. Because 65% of women die on that first heart attack, and they had no idea they had heart disease. So it's called the silent killer amongst women. Where US men, we tend to know, have symptoms, we have chest pain, we have shortness of. You go to your doctor, you, you know, get told to, you know, exercise and eat better and they put you on statins, which for better, for worse, there's pros and cons of that, but it, it, it does reduce the risk of a cardiac event by 50 to 60%. So if women don't know that they're just walking around not knowing they're developing heart disease over, let's say, decade plus until that first cardiac event, and unfortunately, again, 65% of the time, it's the first and last. And so that's where you know, with Dr. Buddha's input also, we, we developed this specific algorithm called CM Angio that detects the calcification buildup in the arteries and capillaries of the breast tissue. Cuz it builds up there faster since blood doesn't blow flow as fast. And so if we can detect it earlier, we get that patient, let's say when they come in for their first mammogram at the age of 40. And to then go see their cardiologist where they might not. Do that for another 10 years. And so that's where we very much are on the detection side with a focus with our AI and data scientists that are, you know, literally rocket scientists have been worked for NASA and other companies before. And, and so our goal with the AI Med Global umbrella is to, as we grow and mature, develop other detection products. So not just for breast cancer and heart disease, but to detect other cancers, strokes, diabetes, kidney disease with our AI expertise. Cuz again, if first and foremost you gotta detect. And then the cure match suite of products are very much. About treating those patients that already have cancer or, or not treat, We don't treat them directly. We don't practice medicine, right? We supply this tool for the oncologists in their care you know, for patients. And, and so, and, and for me, again I hate it. I, I wish it wasn't a personal, but my wife's a 20 year cancer survivor and she's got heart disease in the family, and, and so it's, it's very much a, a personal thing every day. We, you know, as a team wake up every morning saying, you know, how can. Do this faster and get these technologies distributed out, out to market as fast as possible at a global level. You know, cancer, Yeah. Heart disease and any disease for that matter, certainly don't no borders or boundaries and, and neither do we.

Kelly Stanton: 

Yeah, absolutely. Well, it's personal for me too. I, my mother is a two time breast cancer survivor, so, Oh, wow. I'm uh, I'm right there with you. I'm always in fact, when you know, I, I became familiar with the cure metrics. Product. That one has been a particular interest of mind. It's just sort of follow along and, and see how it works. Been being monitored, myself since 35, so

Navid Alipour: 

happy to sync up offline and we can always talk more about that if you like.

Kelly Stanton: 

Yeah, I'd love to. I'd love to. Alright, so you, you talked quite a bit there about the cure metrics and kind of the diagnostic pieces but for with Cure match then, so, you spoke about that a little bit. That's where, you know, so we've got, we've got a diagnosis of cancer and you're just bringing all of these other tools into play then to kind of help make a decision on treatment. Yeah,

Navid Alipour: 

it's, it's a. Even more simple in regards to the workflow. So there's this conception that you know, any digital health company, they have to connect to these big systems, right? Like Cerner or Epic. We don't need to do that. The only input we need again, is that next generation sequencing panel that's done to the layperson. I say it's like the 23 and me of that person's specific cancer. And so they get that, you know, let's say 31 page PDF from Foundation Medicine, which Roche bought a couple years ago for a handsome sum, but, but it could be any company. It could be more agnostic. It could be Foundation Garden. Again, Tempus Strata. NeoGenomics Carists, and Vito. What they do is great. They're our input and we take the baton and run to the next level in. Those, those, when they do that sequencing or the cancer biopsy they do recommend some known combinations also, but the known combinations represent less than 1% of combinations available. So that's where we come in to look at the 99% of unknown combinations with our unique proprietary knowledge, representation, reasoning, you know, and curated database. And, and so that's where that all we need. Is that report. And then we turn that around in two to three days, whereas sometimes the lab work takes, you know, two to three weeks. And, and so in, in that case, it, the patient unfortunately is in a bad place, right? They've just been told they have cancer. The oncologists right now, 75% of oncologists are, are doing NGS cuz there's now reimbursement for it. And so they'll get that biopsy sequenced and, you know, buy one of these labs. And they have that information and it's. But that's where, you know, we could take, you know, take that even farther. And so we get that sent to us by the oncologist the patient and can turn that around you know, within two to three days.

Kelly Stanton: 

Absolutely. And what a powerful amount of knowledge over time that we can learn from this, right? I mean, worldwide database, I assume different types of cancers and treatments and, and then lots of, there's a follow up element I would assume with patient outcomes or

Navid Alipour: 

there, so we, you know, What we produce is our report for, again, that gets in the hands of the oncologist and, and the patient, but it's, you know, it's Greek to the patient for all a notes, but it's for the oncologist during interpret and it's just another error in their quiver in the fight against cancer, so to speak. It's up to the oncologist ultimately to decide what to administer based on all the other information they have on the patient. Right. That you know, again, We just supply the a based on their molecular makeup of their cancer. From this report this next generation sequencing report, this is a decision support product we show that shows the efficacy of a three drug, two drug, one drug combo based on this person's cancer. It's important. Also emphasize we're not gonna be useful necessarily in every cancer patient's. We are the most useful when the cancer is frankly the nastiest and has the most variance. So the more variance, the more complex, the more pathways, which makes it harder to treat. And you know, an oncologist with a current, let's say treatment might stop the pathway of the cancer developing on, you know, pathway one and two. But if it's a Vari has many variants and it's a complex cancer, there's other pathways. So, Oh, okay. You know, cancer, it's like if you're trying to block traffic on a highway or you know, block. Water flowing down a river. If you don't block it high enough, you know the, on the freeway, let's say the the traffic example, the cars will find ways to get around that blockage and there's on ramps and off ramps and side streets and so they get away. Cancer's the same way if, if you don't block the pathway as high as possible, it finds ways to spread. And so those, those cancers that are complex, we hit those pathways you know, as early as possible if we get to the patient. Unfortunately, a lot of times with new technologies like ours, the they choose to go kind of with a standard of care and say, Well, we'll come back to you, you know, let's see how this treatment goes. And they come to us when it's stage three or four, when, you know, they've kind of given up. And we've been very successful in, in many cases there. But, you know, we want to get to patients as early as possible. So where the industry is changing, and, and I don't mean changing in like five years, but I think really in the next call it, you know, 18 to 24 months is patient has cancer. Unfortunately, they get sent to their oncologist. They, they get a biopsy sequence, whether they're solid or liquid biopsy. If it's a blood cancer and then that gets, they get their NGS report produced that gets sent to us. We cure match them, which is pretty cool. Doctors are using the company name as a, as a verb, Did you cure match the patient? nice. And then they can take that information and decide on what treatment to give to the patient. And, and so that's kind of the workflow that is in play. It's. It not is already, you know, it's not as built in and it's a bit of a skate to the puck where the puck is gonna be, as Wayne Gretsky was saying, goes. Whereas with Cure Metrics, it's already established that, you know, here's the workflow for, you know, women to come get a mammogram and you know, then the lab tech, you know, sends it to the radiologist and so forth. And there it's much more seamless. Our software just sits on the machine that they have, whether it's a GE or WholeLogic or Fuji or ica. And we're a hundred percent cloud based, so the image gets sent to the cloud. Our algorithms sit there, anonymized, encrypted. We send our results back down for the radiologist to review. So, you know, all the reimbursement and CPT codes are there. So it's, it's a bit of more of a mature market in the imaging diagnostic space for detection.

Kelly Stanton: 

Gotcha. Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, it's interesting, I was just sitting here thinking about how interesting it would be to you know, cause I know oncologists are publishing outcomes and, and you know, we're all trying to learn like, how can we treat these things better depending on the scenario. And so, what an interesting sort of correlation it would be for someone to then take some of your matches. And those outputs and then look at, you know, outcomes over time and, and how, Cuz I get that it's a tool and you're not practicing medicine, but the power of that information, and again, thinking about the whole, all the global inputs that can come into this just really feels like a great opportunity to learn a whole lot more, you know, in, in trying to continue to fight these cancers.

Navid Alipour: 

I I love that you, you know, you, you mentioned that and we want that. And there's actually a nonprofit that is working on setting up a pilot to do that. Cuz at the end of the day, these oncologists are incredibly busy and Right. We can also go for us to go bother them and say, Hey, what happened to that patient from, you know, a year ago sometimes that we, they, they'll, you know, spend the time with us, but you know, they don't have enough hours in the day. So there's this nonprofit, right, that is putting together. This pilot with you know, several players, players from, you know, the NGS companies on down to us and the insurance companies by the way, because ultimately, you know, I, I hate to say it, but it's a known truth that, you know, go where the money is and Yeah. And, and, and so while so what we're trying to do is hit two birds with one stone to say not only. Is this the best therapeutic decision for this patient? But it also reduces wasteful spend and reduces costs. And so that's where it's gonna be very be very beneficial and of interest in insurance companies and in the self-insured companies in the us, which I think about almost half of the lives in the US are covered by self-insured companies where they mind the bottom line. So they want to deliver better care and reduce costs. So we can come in and. Before you spend all this money on these treatments that might be even toxic to the patient, let's cure match them and let's get them the best treatment as early as possible instead of poisoning them and also spending money on expensive treatments that won't work. Right,

Kelly Stanton: 

Right. Yeah. It's, it's not a, it's a, it's so hard cuz it's not a time you really wanna experi. But at the same time, there's still just so much to be learned out there that, that it kind of is a big experiment at times.

Navid Alipour: 

I mean, with look, with four and a half million combinations, it's if we were to do four and a half million clinical trials, that's just an impossibility. Right? That would, that's never gonna happen. And it's, doesn't need to be hap done that way where we have you know, The data from that's, again, ingested and curated, and it's again, based on science. It's not throwing a, a dart at the, the wall, so to speak, where we'll, we'll say based on the molecular makeup of this cancer and the drugs available and the compounds and how they interact here's the, you know, combination that will increase the ethic. And, and that pfs and LS progression free survival and overall survival. So that, so that, that's where the industry's advancing incredibly fast. There, there's a lot of fantastic companies and people out there on a daily basis in, in, you know, work We. A cog in the wheel for that, so to speak. But we think we're an important cog and and it's, you know, I think it was Peter Diamanti that said that, you know, AI's not gonna replace the doctor, but the doctor using AI will replace a doctor that is not. And so we're big supporters of that at the end of the day. You know, as much as folks like Elon Musk like to talk about the robots and AI taking over the world, Cause maybe they need to be in every new cycle or for, you know, whatever reason. I think we're a long way from that. Especially in healthcare, where unfortunately if a patient has cancer, they, they don't, you know, they need a human touch. They need a doctor to put their arm over their shoulder and say, Hey, you know, we got this. It's gonna be okay. We have action plan, we have next steps. We have something to do. Not, you know, it's not gonna be a robot that tells 'em they have cancer. Right, right

Kelly Stanton: 

now. Yeah. We have, we have similar parallels in the life sciences industry from a regulatory perspective. You know, people say all the time, Well, you know, can we use AI to replace human decision making in manufacturing product release process, for example? And I'm still very much of the opinion that I feel like it's great information to inform yes, but it does not replace the, the human decision. That needs to be made.

Navid Alipour: 

So the human, you're, you're spot on. The human, as they say, has to be on the loop. And so there's, in the AI world, we say it's a human in the loop. On the loop or outside the loop. Outside the loop, it's a hundred percent automated. It doesn't need the human yep. In the loop there, there is no ai. It's the human doing everything, but the human on the loop are overseeing it. They're, you know, the technology is a tool. It's not a replace.

Kelly Stanton: 

Definitely. Well, we're gonna switch gears just a little bit here. Congratulations on being named a top leader of Influence in Life Science Top 50 honoree by the San Diego Business Journal. What, what's been inspiring to you behind your entrepreneurship and, and what would be some advice you would give to other entrepreneurs in the life science industry?

Navid Alipour: 

Yeah, well, one, one, and thank you for that. I was, Flatter to be included on that list with the, my, you know, esteemed colleagues here in San Diego County. My, my advice has always been when folks talk about entrepreneurship and in any industry and we'll come, we come back to life science. Do what you love and what has that personal drive, right? I mean, the definition of an entrepreneur is someone that's delusional. You have to be delusional. To do what we do because the odds of most businesses and most startups, it's that they will fail. And so you have to have that drive that, you know, that failure is just not an option. But there, there has to be that pain point that is not just your own or something that is close to. But that the, the tam, right, the total addressable market is massive enough for an opportunity then to build a business, to add value to others' lives you know, for that product or service. So, you know, that's, that's the general advice that I give if I'm, you know, speaking to college students at university or anything else where it might, you know, sound sexy to say, I'm gonna be an entrepreneur, but that's, It, it, you know, it, it's not the, you know, the right answer for everyone. For some people, they truly need to go to a, a large esteem company, the nine to five, and, and they, they like to know that, you know, this is what I have to do to be successful in my job. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. My, my wife is on that side where she's not the risk taker you know, in the entrepreneurial sense and there's nothing wrong with that. So I think do it because. Feel like you can make a difference and you have to have the risk tolerance to start something that, but for you would not exist. Yeah, very

Kelly Stanton: 

true, very true. I had an interesting question from another CEO recently where he was being asked this question as part of some leadership training he was going through, and I've decided it's gotta be part of my standard battery of questions Now if you were to walk into Barnes and Noble. Where would we find you in Bar? Wow.

Navid Alipour: 

That that is a, that is a good question. That is a really good question. I'll go to the, the, It's for dummy section. No, just kidding.

Kelly Stanton: 

That's generally where I end.

Navid Alipour: 

Joking, Joking aside you know, I'm, I'm a huge geek when it comes to history. And and also just you know, geopolitics and in, in our current events and whatnot as well. So, you know, I'll, I'll ingest a lot of information on you know, the, the geopolitical climate and national security stuff that's going on that does tie into my interests around artificial intelligence and how it's gonna change every facet of our lives. You know, I, I, I love reading. You know, the stories of other entrepreneurs and and, and the good ones and the bad ones. I mean, you learn more from the bad examples, frankly, than the good sometimes. So yeah, I, I, I, I think that, you know, the current environment we live in is that I think it was a Chinese proverb that's a, may you live in interesting times. I, I don't think there are any times that are not interesting. But yeah, again, I mean, we wake up every day right now and You know, it's easy to get bogged down and say, you know, doom and gloom and it's the end of the world and oh my God, what's happening in Russia and Ukraine? And and just that, just one flashpoint right now, right? And the environment. And and, but there are so many positive things happening and just as being a glass half full type of guy and you can't not be glass half full to be an entrepreneur. There are so many people and so many advancements happening. And so I think, you know, that's just human nature to innovate and solve the problems that are in front of us. So I, I think it's exciting times we live in, it's, it's easy to get bogged down. But I think we, you know, we live in the best country in the world. You know, we have a lot of problems, but there's no place I'd rather be, and I think that, I mean, that's truly. The American dream is people from all parts of the world seek to come to the US to, you know, to go to school, to stay here, to live here, to establish their families and businesses here, and practice what they wanna practice. And, and I think that's our secret weapon, is that the best and brightest one to come here and, you know, talent doesn't know borders and boundaries. Um mm-hmm. And, and that's our secret weapon is that we attract you know, those types of people and then that becomes part of the genetic pool of the United States. And that's our secret weapon, not you know, just the tanks and guns and plans and whatnot.

Kelly Stanton: 

Sure, sure. Absolutely. Awesome. Well, thanks. This has been awesome conversation today. I've really enjoyed it. Where can folks go to connect with ai med Global care metrics, Cure, match, or connect with you?

Navid Alipour: 

We, our AI at Global site ai global.com that then drives to, to cure metrics and cure match under that umbrella. And so very easy there. And I'm on LinkedIn as well. So happy to connect on LinkedIn as well.

Kelly Stanton: 

Great. Well, thank you so much for your time today, Navid it's been great.

Navid Alipour: 

Thank you so much, Kelly. Thanks for having me.