Medley Genomics and Transformative AI Selected as Winners in the 2017 Pistoia Alliance President’s Startup Challenge

Startups accelerating research into precision cancer therapies and advancing deep learning in healthcare are awarded for innovation

Boston, 8th October, 2017 – We are delighted to announce the winners of our 2017 President’s Startup Challenge.

The grand prize winner, selected by a panel of seven industry judges, is Medley Genomics.

The audience vote winner, chosen by The Pistoia Alliance’s members, is Transformative AI. The two startups were chosen from five finalists, shortlisted from 20 challenge entries from the US, Europe and India, following a live ‘Shark Tank’ pitching event at our 2017 member conference in Boston. Both Medley Genomics and Transformative AI will receive an award of $20,000 and six months one-to-one mentorship from a Pistoia Alliance member; in addition to one year’s access to Elsevier’s R&D Solutions portfolio, and to Clarivate Analytics’ life-science assets. All five finalists receive a $5,000 award and one year’s free membership to The Pistoia Alliance.

President’s Startup Challenge – Grand Prize Winner:





Medley Genomics is a US startup dedicated to addressing the challenges of genomic heterogeneity in the diagnosis and treatment of complex diseases – with an initial focus on cancer. Through advanced data analytics of molecular sequencing data, Medley Genomics seeks to better inform initial therapeutic decisions, including combination therapies, resulting in significant benefit in patient outcomes.


President’s Startup Challenge – Audience Vote Winner:

Transformative AI is a UK startup that uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) and novel analysis techniques also employed at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The team’s mission is to transform the treatment of serious medical conditions by collecting and translating clinical data into real-time, predictive assessments that will guide the actions of patients and healthcare providers.


“I congratulate Medley Genomics and Transformative AI on their wins – two dynamic startups in the field of data analytics, deep learning and AI. Both teams pitched innovative solutions that will ultimately lead to better patient outcomes, through the pioneering application of advanced technology,” commented Dr Steve Arlington, President of the Pistoia Alliance. “All five finalists of this year’s President’s Challenge are examples of the exciting, inventive mind-set that is a vital feature of the life sciences sector. As pharmaceutical and healthcare companies struggle to make use of the deluge of data flooding the industry, startups such as these will be critical in helping to unlock the value of data that leads to breakthrough discoveries and precision therapies for patients.”

The other three President’s Startup Challenge finalists were:

  • Cubuslab – a German startup aiming to improve lab processes by removing the need for manual data transfer through digitalizing workflows, introducing remote control of lab devices, and monitoring data in real time.
  • InSilicoTrials – a UK startup providing the first web platform for in silico trials; supporting computational simulations for drug discovery and development, medical device development and regulatory approval, and HTA assessment.
  • Phenomic AI – a Canadian startup developing deep learning based algorithms for analyzing high content microscopy and bioimage data, enabling rapid and accurate profiling of single cells in microscopy images.


The President’s Startup Challenge is an annual award that rewards the innovators transforming life sciences and healthcare. It took place at the 2017 conference for The Pistoia Alliance’s members; the theme for which was the ‘Lab of the Future’. The distinction between labs, clinics, ambulatory care and hospitals is diminishing as technology blurs the boundaries. The conference featured speakers from Gartner, Bristol-Myers Squibb, ThermoFisher Scientific, TetraScience and Intel – exploring how the loop is being closed between clinical outcomes data and research data. Panel discussions also debated scientific advances such as the ‘lab-on-a-chip’, or even the’ human-on-a-chip’, that bring research infrastructure closer to the patient with far quicker turnaround times.


About The Pistoia Alliance:

The Pistoia Alliance is a global, not-for-profit members’ organization made up of life science companies, technology and service providers, publishers, and academic groups working to lower barriers to innovation in life science and healthcare R&D. It was conceived in 2007 and incorporated in 2009 by representatives of AstraZeneca, GSK, Novartis and Pfizer who met at a conference in Pistoia, Italy. Its projects transform R&D through pre-competitive collaboration. It overcomes common R&D obstacles by identifying the root causes, developing standards and best practices, sharing pre-competitive data and knowledge, and implementing technology pilots. There are currently over 80 member companies; members collaborate on projects that generate significant value for the worldwide life sciences R&D community, using the Pistoia Alliance’s proven framework for open innovation.