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Student Researchers Use UAE-Developed Generative AI Technology to Find New Brain Tumor Drug Targets

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Abu Dhabi, May 02, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Three high school students – Andrea Olsen from Oslo, Norway; Zachary Harpaz from Boca Raton, Florida; and Chris Ren from Shanghai, China – co-authored a paper using a generative artificial intelligence (AI) engine for target discovery from Insilico Medicine (“Insilico”) called PandaOmics to identify new therapeutic targets for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). GBM is the most aggressive and common malignant brain tumor, accounting for 16% of all primary brain tumors. The findings were published on April 26 in the journal Aging.

Much of the technology behind PandaOmics is being developed in Insilico’s Generative Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing Research and Development Center in Abu Dhabi, the region’s largest AI-powered biotechnology research center. 

Olsen, a student at Sevenoaks School in Kent, UK, began interning at Insilico Medicine in 2021, after discovering her interest in neurobiology and technology. For the current paper, the fifth scientific paper she has co-authored before turning eighteen, she and other researchers used PandaOmics to screen datasets from the Gene Expression Omnibus repository maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information and found new therapeutic targets implicated for treating both aging and glioblastoma multiforme. 

Ren, a student at Shanghai High School International Division, has an interest in biology and biomarkers and joined them in the summer of 2022.

While there would seem to be a clear connection between aging and cancer, Olsen says their findings were more nuanced. “Sometimes, instead of aging, the body switches to cancer mechanisms, which was really interesting to discover.” She hypothesized that “the body is trying to preserve itself in a way that it is switching back to embryonic processes of cell division.” GBM is caused by a genetic mutation that leads to uncontrolled growth of glial cells, or cells that surround neurons in the brain. Even with existing therapies, the median survival for GBM patients is only 15 months. 

Harpaz, a student at Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale, had an early interest in computer science and AI and soon developed a passion for biology as well. “I wanted to combine my two favorite topics, computer science and biology, into what I think is the most interesting field of biology – aging research,” Harpaz says. He discovered generative AI drug discovery company Insilico Medicine whose founder and CEO, Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, connected him with Olsen. The two young researchers began collaborating on the glioblastoma project and ultimately presented findings at the Aging Research and Drug Discovery (ARDD) conference in Copenhagen, where they together launched the Youth Longevity Association (TYLA).

In this latest paper, the three teens used PandaOmics to analyze the genes and identified three that were strongly correlated with both aging and glioblastoma and could serve as potential therapeutic targets for new drugs. 

“We selected the genes that were overlapped to be highly correlated in 11 of the 12 datasets, and we split our data into young, middle aged, and senior groups,” said Harpaz. “We mapped this to the importance of the gene expression to survival.” After identifying two genetic targets for glioblastoma and aging – CNGA3 and GLUD1 – they cross-referenced their findings with earlier findings from Insilico around genes strongly correlated with aging and identified a third target – SIRT1.  

“I learned a lot about conducting a research project,” said Ren, who helped review the three targets. “The PandaOmics platform really made the project accessible to me. As a high school sophomore, I did not have sufficient experience for advanced research and analysis, however, I was still able to navigate the PandaOmics platform after a brief period of training to process and compare datasets of glioblastoma.”

The students say they are eager to continue their studies in AI and biology into college and to move the GBM research forward from target discovery to drug development. 

“The best way to take this research further is going to be using Insilico’s Chemistry42 software, where we can take the targets we identified through PandaOmics and generate small molecules, potential drugs, with these targets that have the potential to treat glioblastoma and aging at the same time,” says Harpaz. 

Prior to her internship at Insilico, Olsen says: “I never knew that AI could be so helpful in finding completely new therapeutic targets. For me, that was an incredible opportunity to dive into the field of research, aging, longevity, and neuroscience. It really kick-started my entire career.” 

“I am truly impressed by the commitment of these young researchers,” says Zhavoronkov. “I hope their work will inspire other young people excited about science and technology to look at how they can use AI tools to discover new targets and treatments for both aging and disease.”

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, a clinical-stage generative artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company, is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trials analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques for novel target discovery and the generation of novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is developing breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system diseases, infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, and aging-related diseases. In early 2023, the Company opened the Insilico Medicine Generative Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing Research and Development Centre in Abu Dhabi, the region’s largest AI-powered biotechnology research center. The R&D hub brings together global talent in artificial intelligence and software development to expand the capabilities of Insilico’s end-to-end AI-driven drug discovery platform, Pharma.AI, explore aging research and sustainable chemistry, and support the digital transformation of healthcare in the region.

For more information, visit www.insilico.com   

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Artificial Intelligence

Confluence former executive joins fintech Premialab

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James Carrington, a former executive at Confluence, Investment Metrics, Style Analytics has joined fintech Premialab. He brings extensive client engagement expertise in investment analytics and data for the institutional investment community.
LONDON, Feb. 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Premialab, the financial data and analytics firm, announced today the appointment of James Carrington as Head of Client Engagement. Mr. Carrington, based in London, will spearhead global client engagement, leveraging over 10 years of experience in driving client engagement gained at Investment Metrics, Style Analytics, and most recently at Confluence, part of the Clearlake Capital Group portfolio. His primary focus will be on enabling faster tailor-made investment analytics delivery and data integration for Premialab’s pension funds, foundations, endowments, and insurance clients.

Adrien Geliot, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Premialab, said, “I am delighted to welcome James to the team. His appointment confirms our commitment to delivering first-class service to our customers across global locations. His experience in maximizing the value derived from investment analytics will be invaluable in serving our clients as we continue scaling our activities worldwide.”
Commenting on his appointment, James Carrington said, “I am delighted to have joined the Premialab team. Their innovative solution makes a real difference to institutional investors looking at quant investments. The evolution of Premialab over the last number of years has been something that I have followed closely, and I am looking forward to working with the team to further support our customer base across our established and emerging demographics.”
The announcement follows recent senior appointments at Premialab, including Philippe Jacson, former BNP Paribas, Merrill Lynch and MSCI executive; Daniel Fields, former Global Head of Markets at Societe Generale; John Macpherson, former Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, Citibank, and Nomura; Marc Fisher, former Managing Director at Citibank with a prior position at Deutsche Bank; and Georgios Sittas, former Managing Director at HSBC, Standard Chartered, and previously a director at Lehman Brothers.
Recognized as the reference for data and risk analytics on quantitative strategies, Premialab’s capital markets infrastructure is currently used by leading asset managers, insurance companies and pensions funds, accelerating their digitalization and enhancing performance and risk control while reducing costs. The platform’s client AUM is representing an estimated USD$10 trillion.
About Premialab
Premialab is an independent platform providing data, analytics and risk solutions on systematic and factor-based strategies in collaboration with leading investment banks and institutional investors globally. Combining intelligent technology with a unique source of information the platform empowers asset allocators to make better investment decisions whilst achieving utmost time and cost efficiency.
With offices in London, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Dubai, its international team is dedicated to supporting a global client base with the most up-to-date risk premia dataset, advanced portfolio construction, performance and risk analytics. The firm has established strong partnerships with the top 18 investments banks, global asset managers, pensions funds and insurance companies.

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Axon Technologies and Keyrus Announce Strategic Partnership to Elevate Cybersecurity Business

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Keyrus Acquires Minority Stake in Axon Technologies, adding Axon’s Cybersecurity Portfolio to Keyrus Solutions, and Expanding Keyrus Reach across Middle East and Africa
PARIS and DUBAI, UAE, Feb. 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — In a significant development in the cybersecurity sector, Keyrus, an international leader in data intelligence and digital transformation, has announced the acquisition of a minority stake in Axon Technologies, a premier provider of cybersecurity services based in Dubai, UAE. This strategic investment marks a major milestone in Keyrus’ cybersecurity strategy, signalling an ambitious step towards establishing a global cybersecurity powerhouse.

Strategic Expansion and Enhanced Cybersecurity Solutions
The collaboration between Keyrus and Axon Technologies is set to revolutionize the cybersecurity landscape in the Middle East and Africa, particularly with Keyrus’ entry into the lucrative Saudi Arabian market. This move enables Keyrus to pursue its investment in a newly formed cybersecurity business, offering enhanced data security solutions to both existing and new clients.
Eric Cohen, Founder and CEO of Keyrus, expressed his enthusiasm: “This investment in Axon Technologies marks a significant step in our cybersecurity strategy. We’re embarking on an exciting journey to amplify our cybersecurity capabilities and establish a world-class global player in this domain. Axon Technologies’ innovative approach to consulting and managed services aligns perfectly with our vision and culture. We eagerly anticipate integrating Axon into our ecosystem to bolster our cybersecurity solutions and address the digital security challenges of our clients.”
Hadi Hosn, CEO of Axon Technologies, also shared his thoughts: “This partnership marks a new era for Axon Technologies, propelling us further in our mission to protect organizations from cyber threats. We admire the Keyrus vision and believe that our combined strengths will lead to disruptive data and cybersecurity solutions, addressing critical challenges in digital identity, application security, API, and data security across various environments and industries.”
Hadi Darwiche, Chairman of DIV Capital & Co-founder of Axon Technologies: “It’s gratifying to see Axon Technologies grow from a concept into a key player in the cybersecurity field. With Keyrus joining forces with us, we anticipate a period of sustained growth, leveraging our combined experience and established reputations. We are confident that together, Axon Technologies will continue to extend its market presence and deliver top-tier solutions.”
Comprehensive Cybersecurity Portfolio and Global Reach
In a relatively short period, Axon Technologies, founded in 2020, has emerged as a beacon of excellence and innovation in the cybersecurity field, demonstrating remarkable growth and agility in its operations. With a revenue of $3.2 million USD in 2023 and a projected substantial increase of the activities, it represents a testament to its robust business model, exceptional service delivery, and the trust clients place in Axon Technologies. The team made of 30 dedicated professionals is its most valuable asset. Axon Technologies commits to growing its team, fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and continuous learning.
Axon Technologies, renowned for its expertise in cybersecurity, will now be able to leverage Keyrus global presence and capabilities. With headquarters in Dubai and a significant footprint in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, Axon Technologies is well-positioned to monitor threats and support client cybersecurity programs across these regions effectively. With the backing of Keyrus’s global network, Axon Technologies is poised for unprecedented growth and are dedicated to setting new standards in the cybersecurity landscape.
The partnership is also expected to enhance the offerings of both companies. Axon Technologies’ expertise in Data Security, Cloud Security, DevSecOps and Managed Security Services aligns seamlessly with the Keyrus strategic objectives in digital, data, AI and cloud transformation initiatives.
About Axon Technologies
Axon Technologies offers comprehensive cybersecurity services including consulting, managed security services, engineering, and testing. The company is a leader in addressing critical infrastructure customers’ cybersecurity needs, from strategic consulting to hands-on management and technical security engineering support and managed security services, ensuring a robust and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. The company’s service portfolio includes:
Technical Security Consulting & Advisory: Guidance and expertise for technical cybersecurity programs.Advanced Security Testing: Rigorous cybersecurity testing across the environment to identify and address vulnerabilities.Security Engineering & Architecture: Designing and implementing robust security architectures across on-premises and cloud environments.Managed Security Services: Ongoing management and support of cybersecurity operations. About Keyrus
Keyrus, an international player in the consulting and technology sectors and a specialist in data and digital technology, is dedicated to helping enterprises take advantage of the data and digital paradigm to enhance their performance, facilitate and accelerate their transformation, and generate new drivers of growth and competitiveness.
Placing innovation at the heart of its strategy, Keyrus develops a value proposition that is unique in the market and centred around five major service groups, each comprised of multiple solutions:
Automation and Artificial IntelligenceHuman-Centric Digital ExperienceData and Analytics enablementCloud and SecurityBusiness transformation and InnovationBuilding on the combined expertise of more than 3,500 employees active across 27 countries and 4 continents, Keyrus is one of the leading international experts in data, consulting and technology.
Keyrus is listed on Euronext Growth Paris. (ALKEY – ISIN Code: FR0004029411 – Reuters: KEYR.PA – Bloomberg: ALKEY: FP).
About DIV Capital
DIV Capital, originally starting as a family office, now operating as a strategic investment holding firm, specializing in bespoke advisory services. The firm focuses on fortifying family capital through comprehensive offerings that encompass support for early-stage enterprises, strategic asset allocation, and robust governance infrastructure development. The firm operates out of Geneva and Dubai and provides three core services:
Family Asset Support: Tailored support to construct an asset allocation that meets wealth goals.Family Financial Sponsorship: Reinforcement for family-operated businesses, aimed at fostering enduring value creation.Governance and Reporting: Consultation on governance frameworks and the enhancement of reporting standards for comprehensive asset oversight.Forward Looking Statements
Some of the statements in this press release may be forward-looking statements or statements of future expectations based on currently available information. Such statements are naturally subject to risks and uncertainties. Factors such as the development of general economic conditions, future market conditions, unusual catastrophic loss events, changes in the capital markets and other circumstances may cause the actual events or results to be materially different from those anticipated by such statements. Axon Technologies, Keyrus or DIV Capital do not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or updated status of such statements. Therefore, in no case whatsoever will the companies and the affiliate companies be liable to anyone for any decision made or action taken in conjunction with the information and/or statements in this press release or for any related damages.
Contact: [email protected]
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NDC Group and Valantic form a strategic partnership in EPM solutions

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PRAGUE, Feb. 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — NDC Group, a leading company in enterprise performance management (EPM) consultancy and data analytics is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with valantic, renowned digital solutions, consulting, and tech innovation company. Through this partnership, the companies aim to offer a joint portfolio of solutions and services in SAP planning and analytics.

Central to this collaboration is the delivery of NDC Financial Consolidation, which offers an automated and streamlined approach to legal and managerial consolidation. While the solution draws inspiration from the concept and functions of previously popular SAP consolidation solutions, it utilizes the modern technologies to enhance automation, performance, user experience, and seamless data integration.
The partnership also gives the chance to offer additional products, including SAC workforce planning content, SAP BusinessObjects migration accelerators, and pre-built content for SAC financial planning. Overall, the combined expertise and product offering enhance the ability of both companies to support customers in driving data-driven transformations within their organizations.
Stefan Blinkmann, Head of SAP Analytics at valantic, emphasizes: “We are very pleased about our new partnership, and we are convinced that our customers will benefit greatly from it. Above all, the NDC Group’s products create added value in the area of consolidation based on SAP Analytics Cloud, and they expand valantic’s range of services. An integrated solution for reporting, planning, and consolidation in SAP Analytics Cloud provides multiple benefits for our customers and enables them to streamline their system landscape.”
Karel Jirik, Head of Products at NDC Group, is also convinced of the benefits of this collaboration: “Our partnership with valantic is an excellent opportunity to leverage the synergies between our teams to streamline and transform our customers’ data landscape. The jointly offered EPM solutions enable precise and swift decision-making and enhance operational efficiency, crucial elements in today’s competitive landscape. I’m particularly pleased we found a lot of commonalities with valantic, and I am convinced together we can deliver better solutions in a shorter time.”
Vladislav Stefanak, CEO of NDC Group, reflects on the partnership’s potential: “This partnership embodies my vision of equipping our clients with advanced functionalities reminiscent of those found in SAP BPC and SAP Financial Consolidation, yet significantly enhanced by leveraging top-tier SAP technologies. Our collaboration with valantic commenced with remarkable synergy from the outset, underpinned by their extensive expertise and knowledge base.”
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