Estonian healthtech startup uses AI to develop antiviral drugs

Estonian healthtech startup Nora AI is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to develop antiviral drugs.

The company says it is building a drug development platform, Nora, that “significantly accelerates” drug development, “reduces costs” and “increases the likelihood of clinical success”. In collaboration with the University of Tartu Biosafety Laboratory, the focus is on treating viruses with global impact.

“Nora automates critical aspects of biomedical researchers’ daily work. This includes summarising scientific literature, searching databases for information, recommending new drug candidates and communicating the results of scientists’ own laboratory experiments,” Carmen Kivisild, a co-founder and the CEO of Nora AI, said in a statement.

The company plans to license the Nora platform to universities, research institutions, other start-ups and pharmaceutical companies. “The potential of the Nora platform is too great to keep it to ourselves,” Kivisild said.

Raised €65,000 from angel investors

“Traditionally, it takes about ten years for a drug to reach the market, and a large number of these drugs fail at various stages of clinical development. Innovative companies like Nora AI that can increase the likelihood of success by identifying the right targets are therefore very welcome. We look forward to completing the Nora platform to test its impact on our drug development programmes,” Mart Ustav, the CSO of the Tartu-based biotechnology company, Icosagen Cell Factory, said about Nora AI.

So far, Nora AI has raised €65,000 from angel investors to develop its platform. One of the investors, Arti Kütt, a former CEO of Estonian robotic parcel solutions company Cleveron, said “the rapid advancement of technology and artificial intelligence has opened up unprecedented opportunities in healthcare and drug development”. “I believe Nora AI is at the forefront of this revolution. Together, we can make drug development cheaper, more effective and globally accessible,” said Kütt.

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