NetraMark Holdings is a tech company, looking to identify and fill current gaps in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Toronto-based company offers its proprietary algorithms to change the way in which Artificial Intelligence is used in the field, uncovering insights from small datasets that make a key difference.
The company’s CEO George Achilleos joined The Market Herald’s Simon Druker to talk about its focus.
TMH: Give us some background here. As a company, you pivoted and made a decision to go in a specific direction late last year, which also came with a name change to NetraMark. What was the genesis for that?
GA: I became the CEO of this company in March of 2022, so just over a year and there was an assortment of assets that we had at the time. So, one of my first jobs was to review all the assets. Once I really took a look at this NetraMark asset and the Netra AI technology, it became really, really apparent to me that we had an unbelievable technology in the AI space that could solve a real problem in the pharmaceutical industry where essentially clinical trials fail at a rate of 90% and so any kind of solution that could be applied to that, I thought what an amazing opportunity to really address a problem that’s been around for a very, very long time.
TMH: Part of validating your technology means publishing white papers so the rest of the industry begins to understand the capabilities and uniqueness of your AI platform. And you did began in February and even more recently, just last month related to Alzheimer’s, correct?
GA: We’ve started publishing an assortment of papers. So, when you can imagine if you’re a company that’s in the artificial intelligence space that has a solution to an industry and they haven’t seen a lot of these solutions historically, what’s the first question you’re gonna get when you start approaching pharmaceutical companies? “Oh, so you have some technology that can actually address clinical trial failures and potentially improve that rate” and so in order to answer that question, there’s a very, very clear path to that and what that is, is really delivering white papers, publications that essentially demonstrate what we can do with our technology. I’d love to have the opportunity to really talk about that. So yes, we put out a paper on Alzheimer’s that shows how we do what we call patient stratification. We’ve also put a paper out on pancreatic cancer, a placebo response and we have more papers coming in the future.
If you go to our website netramark.com, you’ll see papers on the website and you can really dive deep into these papers and what they actually demonstrate as far as how we can stratify a patient population and try to identify who responds to a drug and who doesn’t respond to a drug, what those underlying characteristics are so that they will inform what we call the enrichment and recruitment criteria for the next phase of the clinical trial because that’s the million dollar question, who do you recruit into the trial when you’re coming out of phase two, you’re going into phase three. What are the real characteristics that are driving response to a drug? Can you recruit those people and find those people and understand what those driving response characteristics are? That’s what our technology does.
TMH: Let’s expand on your technology itself. Tell us about the NetraAI platform. It aims to address what you call the challenges inherit in running clinical trials currently facing the pharmaceutical industry. Can you expand on that?
GA: I really like to try and simplify things. So, when you really look at this, I talked about this 10% threshold, that’s what it’s called in the pharmaceutical industry. Essentially approximately 90% of drugs fail, meaning a candidate medicine that starts at preclinical, identifying a molecule for a specific disease, for it to get through two commercialization, takes a lot of money, takes a lot of time, and has a 90% failure rate. So, what we are really targeting with our technology is how do we do that, and the big question is, why don’t a lot of companies target this? When you look at AI, as that it’s applied to the pharmaceutical industry, most of the AI is what I call molecule identification. There’s very few companies that are tackling the clinical trial process and the main reason is there are small data sets.
95% of clinical trials have less than a thousand participants, which is considered a small data set and AI does not thrive on small data sets and many clinical trials have two or 300 participants in phase two or phase three. These are tiny data sets. What Dr. Joe Geraci, the founder of this company has spent the last 10 years on, he’s a PhD mathematician is figuring out how to create algorithms that can ingest these small data sets and really come up with statistically relevant outputs of what we call response criteria to a certain drug. So, when we really look at what we’re trying to address, it’s very clear it’s this pharmaceutical industry 10% threshold and we think we’ve got a really fantastic solution in this world of AI and applying AI to that problem.
TMH: Expanding on that for a moment…how does your proprietary technology separate you from any type of competition in the same field?
GA: As I said first and foremost, there isn’t a lot of AI competitive technology focused on clinical trial de-risking. It’s mostly on molecule identification and what’s the separating factor? First and foremost, as I touched on is our ability to ingest small data sets and clinical trials contain small data sets given the number of participants. That’s the first part. The second part is then we are able to derive statistically relevant findings out of those small data sets, but the real revolutionary part is it’s all great. We’re going to find these clusters of people, these are responders, these are non-responders. The question then becomes, what is it that is driving response? So, we call it explain-ability. So, a real key characteristic of our technology is that it helps to explain what’s actually driving the response so that the bioinformaticians and the scientists that are designing the next phase of the trial understand the key underlying drivers of response. Does that make sense?
TMH: So, it’s fair to say you want to help the pharmaceutical industry improve the success rate of (medical) clinical trials?
GA: Absolutely fair and like I said, this is a massive opportunity. A problem that has been around for a long time. When you’re trying to build a business, you fundamentally start with, well, what’s the problem that we’re trying to solve and it’s often difficult to communicate that it’s very easy for any investor to digest a 90% failure rate. That’s the problem we’re addressing. So, you’re starting with a really easy problem then we’re really identifying what clearly differentiates us and then you pack on top of that. Clinical trial services are about a 20 billion dollar market and it’s gonna be in increasing by 2030 to about a 35 billion dollar market. Massive dollars are budgeted in the services that support clinical trials. So, you have clear problem, a clear solution, massive budgets. I mean this is a really exciting time and we think we can address a problem that’s been around for ages.
TMH: I imagine advisors are vitally important in an industry like this. You’ve added some very experienced people to your advisory board recently. What do they offer you and how does their experience help you get ahead of the competition?
GA: I think a great indicator of a company and the possibilities of that company to succeed are really a reflection of the people that you can surround around the business. We recently announced Dr. Larry Alphs, joined as a strategic advisor. He’s a former director at Novartis, former executive director at Pfizer and former head of therapeutics at Johnson and Johnson. So, if you look at that kind of a resume, he’s joined as a strategic advisor to NetraMark, we announced that recently. So, an amazing person with an amazing Rolodex in the pharmaceutical industry and he’s been in the pharmaceutical industry for decades. We also recently announced Abhishek Agrawal. He currently works at GSK, formerly GlaxoSmithKline. He also worked in the CRO, the Contract Research Organization world IQVIA, which are great partners for us to also help us build our pipeline and we’ve got some more advisors from some mega pharma companies that will be joining our company in the future. I think it’s a testament to how unbelievably great our technology is and what the possibilities are for us to really build an unbelievable company.
TMH: Is there anything else that we haven’t touched on yet that’s important for our viewers and your investors to know right now?
GA: I think there’s one other thing and I think what are the ingredients of success when you’re building a company? So, I think it starts with a problem. We’ve clearly defined that. I think then you have to marry it with a technology that can address the problem. I think we’ve clearly defined that. The next part though is how do you build an unbelievable company? You have to marry those things that I just outlined with an unbelievable management team and I’ve been able to recruit some unbelievable people. Obviously, Dr. Joe Geraci, who’s a PhD mathematician, top half percent Mensa globally, a real rocket scientist that’s built the algorithms that drive this business but then if you look at the other people, I’ve been able to attract on this management team, Dr. DJ Cook, he’s a neurosurgeon. He’s also built an AI company and he’s helped bring drugs to market.
He joined as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Luca Pani used to be the director general of the Italian Medicines Agency, where he managed a multi-billion-dollar budget. Any drug that wanted to come into the Italian market would have to go through Dr. Luca’s Pani’s hands. He now resides in Washington. He’s joined as our Chief regulatory officer, another amazing hire. Then I look at Josh Spiegel, he’s our president, head of commercializing this. He just came off a 330 million US dollar exit at a company called VeraSci in the clinical trial space. They sold that company to WCG Clinical, so another amazing exit for 330 million. He took a look at the tech; he joined our company as president. So, look at that team that we’ve put together that I’ve been able to put behind this. When you marry that with the advisors, I think now you’ve got the recipe for success to really build something great.
Here is what’s really great about this, the fact that we’re having this conversation. We literally announced the name change to NetraMark two months ago or in the last 90 days, we changed our symbol to AIAI on the CSE, which is really an amazing symbol to have in this world of AI. We are just starting actually now to begin to tell the markets. So, the markets haven’t even really heard about this story yet. So this is an amazing time for me and that’s why I’m so excited you can probably tell because I have an opportunity to now begin to your listeners and readers to begin to articulate a story that I think that is really, really amazing and if you look at our market cap, we’re only at a 19 million dollar market cap and the last little nugget I’ll leave you with Simon, is if you look at the multiples in this space, we’re talking about multiples between 30 and a 100 times revenue and if you look at our projected revenue pipeline, we think we’ll do a few million bucks in revenue this year and substantially more next year. I think there’s a massive opportunity for a market cap expansion here. Once we start to build our pipeline here, which we’re actively doing, this is not a technology that we’re building. It’s built ready to go. We’re building our sales pipeline. I think we’re gonna have an amazing next, 2, 3, 4 quarters, and I think investors will be greatly rewarded.
George Achilleos is the CEO of NetraMark Holdings Inc. The company trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol CSE:AIAI. You can also visit www.Netramark.com for more information.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This is sponsored content issued on behalf of NetraMark Holdings Inc., please see full disclaimer here. here.