Talking Medicines gets funding to expand AI-based “patient voice” platform

Talking Medicines has raised £1.1 million ($1.4 million) in funding that will be used to develop an artificial intelligence (AI) data platform that can be used by pharma companies to gain insights into how patients perceive them.

The Glasgow-based company – which is behind the MedSmart app that helps patients keep a digital records of their medicines and symptoms using barcodes – says it will use the cash injection to launch a new AI data platform which will “translate what patients are saying into actionable pharma grade intelligence.”

The platform could serve as an alternative to traditional patient focus groups, prescriber reports and clinical target patient profiles, and help drugmakers find out who is using their medicines, how they are finding the experience, and what they really think of brands.

The platform will mine information from social media and connected devices to regulated medicine information to capture and analyse the conversations and behaviours of medicine users and get a picture of “patient sentiment.”

The fundraising has been backed by Internet of Things (IoT) investment specialist Tern plc, along with The Scottish Investment Bank, Scottish Enterprise’s investment arm. To date Talking Medicines has raised £2.5 million, including £600,000 in grant funding from Scottish Enterprise last year.

Chief executive Jo Halliday (pictured centre) said the money would allow the company to hire an additional nine staff in its natural language processing (NLP) data tech team, which researches how machines can be made to understand human language accurately.

“Now more than ever we passionately believe that big pharma needs a systematic way to make data driven decisions through accessing high grade social intelligence driven from the patient,” said Halliday.

“This investment will scale our team and the development of…tools to translate what patients are saying into actionable pharma grade intelligence through our global patient confidence score by medicine.”

Tern chief executive Al Sisto is joining the board of the data specialist, and said Talking Medicines’ platform “is solving a critical problem for an industry that spends around $30 billion on marketing annually, whilst lacking systematic data tools that can structure patient sentiment from social channels.”

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