Head to Head with Mike Denis at Akrivia Health

July 15th 2020
Akrivia Health Wood Centre for Innovation

We went head-to-head with Akrivia Health – the latest company to join us in our sister site, Oxford Centre for Innovation.

Did you know that over 1 billion people across the world are living with mental health conditions?  Or that more than 50 million have been diagnosed with dementia? And that it has been over 20 years since the development of a new drug to treat Alzeheimer’s? With an ageing population, the numbers and the need continue to grow. “We aim to see this change” says CEO, Mike Denis.

Set up just over a year ago in May 2019, Akrivia’s USP is “enable important insights from mental health patient data”. As a result of a partnership with NHS Trusts and the University of Oxford, the company has access to nearly 3 million de-identified psychiatric clinical records from the last 10 years – this collaboration has created the largest and most in-depth mental health and dementia dataset in the world. So, what do they do with this data?

The Akrivia dataset helps research into mental health and dementia drug treatments, pathways and outcomes. They do this by using artificial intelligence (AI) to interpret the anonymised records across 440 billion data points. Clients using the platform services include academic institutions, health care organisations, industry and research institutions and they are now looking to work with international healthcare organisations. Not only can they help with early stage drug discovery but also drug evaluation too – one of the most expensive parts of any drug development is the clinical trials process. This unique data asset can help researchers develop more precise psychiatric models to accelerate the process.

The company is a spin-out from the University of Oxford’s Department of Psychiatry and was founded by – Mike Denis (CEO), David Newton (COO) and Professor Sir Simon Lovestone (Chief Medical Officer) – who worked together on the UK-CRIS programme]. Akrivia has grown its team over the last twelve months, employing of 17 data scientists, analysts, programme managers and clinicians with plans to expand further adding new roles to the team. Cristal Health – branded Akrivia Health – is a private company, partly owned by the NHS, University of Oxford and private investors. “The business aims to change the trajectory of clinical research to accelerate improvement in patient health outcomes” says Mike.

And what about 2020?  Mike says: “There are the obvious challenges around COVID-19 and how we operate day-to-day, but this also presents new important research activity, but we’ve also got lots of work to do on launching our new data platform and there’s another big funding round to complete this year too.”

As you might imagine, it hasn’t been a straightforward move to their new home at the Oxford Centre for Innovation. As their office manager, Louise Honeyman, said “it’s not been a cut and paste job” but they are now happily ensconced at OCFI and looking to the future. As with many start-up tech companies in our innovation centres, Akrivia benefits from early stage support provided by The Oxford Trust that helps them to focus on science and growth. We wish them the very best of luck.

If you want to find out more about Akrivia Health, see here.

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Five minutes with Tim Ballance, Lead Scientist at ColdQuanta UK

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