30 Most Innovative Companies 2019

BenevolentAI is the global leader in the development and application of artificial intelligence (“AI”) for scientific innovation.

The escalation of computers has minimized the manual work that humans had been doing today, computers are used in all sectors and humans have become highly reliant on them. Can a machine think alike human? This is when AI (artificial intelligence) came into being with the intention of developing intelligence in machines similar to that of humans.

We introduce you to BenevolentAI who is rolling out AI technologies to transmute how medicines are invented, evolved, tested and introduced to market. The firm’s Benevolent Platform™, which is today a top computational and experimental discovery platform, it is managed by BenevolentAI scientists to create new ways to treat diseases and customize medicines according to the patient’s condition.

The company quotes, “Our platform of computational and experimental technologies and processes, drawing on vast quantities of mined and inferred biomedical data can advance the entire drug development process. The platform is built and used by our world-class scientists, researchers, and technologists, working side-by-side. Our strength comes from this integrated, end-to-end approach, combined with a relentless pursuit of scientific and technological excellence.”

BenevolentAI can easily detect early to late stage clinical developments. The company’s computational and experimental technologies and processes, drawing on vast quantities of mined and inferred biomedical data can proceed with the whole drug development process.

The company says that it gets strength from unified, end-to-end approach, amalgamated with continual pursuit of technological and scientific excellence.

Why BenevolentAI ALS programme matters?

ALS which is otherwise known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease causes neurons controlling voluntary muscles to die, leading to trouble in swallowing, speaking, and finally breathing.

There is no cure, and current treatments only average a three month extension of life. BenevolentAI set up a dedicated team to explore new approaches.

By approaching a poorly understood and enormously complicated disease, BenevolentAI knew any progress its platform could make in finding an effective treatment would become powerful proof of the potential for machine learning in drug discovery, and also of its potential to change patients’ lives.

The company has successfully produced some ALS treatments along with biological evidence.  BenevolentAI quotes, “Our team, with no previous specific expertise in ALS, was able to rapidly triage these predictions using strategies focused on pathways implicated in multiple ALS processes. The five most promising compounds were taken to the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), a world authority on ALS. An ALS candidate emerged from a breast cancer drug, which showed delay of symptom onset when tested in the gold standard disease model.”

BenevolentAI mission

The firm unitedly works to gain expertise and interdisciplinary amalgamation to generate synergies across the whole drug discovery and development process. This is the approach that the company believes is competing enough because many top companies have followed this to be successful.

Drugs spotted by Artificial Intelligence that may minimize vision loss from macular degeneration

Action Against AMD is created by four UK sight loss charities (Blind Veterans UK, Fight for Sight, the Macular Society and Scottish War Blinded) as a part of research collaboration, it partnered with artificial intelligence company BenevolentAI to carry out the research.

BenevolentAI used its ‘Benevolent Platform’ to comprehensively review and analyze the millions of scientific papers, clinical trials information, and additional datasets relating to age-related macular degeneration with a view to identifying potential gene targets and treatments.

The research identified seven existing drugs - either already in development or being used to treat other conditions - that have the potential to be repurposed to treat macular degeneration. In addition, the analysis identified new gene targets for investigation.

Action Against AMD will now be taking the insight from the project to identify which drugs and gene targets are a priority for further investigation.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of sight loss and can result in complete loss of central vision, with an estimated prevalence of 196 million people worldwide. There are currently no approved treatments for the 95% of patients with early and ‘dry AMD’, although there are treatments for 5% of patients with ‘wet AMD’ caused by new blood vessel growth - if caught early enough.

Dr Wen Hwa Lee, Chief Executive for Action Against AMD said: “It’s really promising that we have identified current drugs that may have a positive effect on macular degeneration. Our next step will be to confirm which of these drugs have the potential to slow progression of the disease and reduce sight loss for people with this condition.”

Dr Jackie Hunter, Board Director at BenevolentAI commented: “It has been a very productive partnership with Action Against AMD and we are delighted to have contributed some promising new research in age-related macular degeneration. I very much look forward to seeing the results of this research as it is developed further by Action Against AMD”.

The Macular Society, one of the four founders of Action Against AMD, through their donors the Clothworkers’ Foundation and another anonymous donor, helped to fund the collaboration with BenevolentAI.


Joanna Shields is the CEO of the company and is a tech industry veteran with over 25 years of experience in building and scaling global firms like Facebook, Bebo, Google, Real Networks, and Efi. Before joining BenevolentAI, she was working in UK government as Under Secretary of State and Minister for Internet Safety and Security, Digital Economy Adviser and Chair and CEO of TechCityUK.  

“The Benevolent Platform™ focuses on four key areas of drug discovery and development: Knowledge and Reasoning, Target Identification, Molecular Design and Precision Medicine.”