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Neurologist turned startup CEO for Parkinson’s Disease

Making objectivity the corner stone of clinical trials can’t come soon enough for Jonathan

By Susannah Williams

Jonathan O’Keefe has been welcomed into the RebelBio ranks, CEO of Machine Medicine, has become part of our portfolio RebelBio Cohort VI companies. We are elated to be accelerating his company to change the world of medical research.

As a practicing neurologist, Jonathan saw that his impact in clinical practice was linear — you see one patient, you impact one patient, patient number doubles, impact doubles, and you start again. Instead he wanted to combine his neurology and computer science background to impact deeper than he ever could using one discipline alone, by building a startup. Perfectly positioned to see the flaws in the system, and with the expertise to solve them, he set about building his company Machine Medicine.

“As a neurologist, I used to see Parkinson’s disease patients all the time, and the assessments were plagued by the same problem: 200 year old tech, pin pricks, and tapping knees. Really not making the best use of a skilled doctor who has to carry out limited assessments, collecting limited data — everyone loses but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Jonathan ruminates. “People are addressing this as an engineering problem, hence you get devices like accelerometers or radio frequency locators, etc—but that objective data doesn’t speak to a clinician in a way they understand. Not one of these new methods has been approved by EMA or FDA. They are divorced from current clinical practice.”

Jonathan O’Keefe is CEO of Machine Medicine, a company that marries both clinical and engineering perspectives in a manner that’s compatible with what clinicians are already doing, but squeezing more—(and here is the important word)—OBJECTIVE juice out of it. Gone are the days of the gentleman scientist discovering laws in his stately home, now are the days of powering up our scientific advances with artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning. Machine Medicine is jam packed with AI, clinical acumen, and brazen ambition.

With this new arsenal in the researcher’s back pocket, clinical trials into Parkinson’s disease will be not just objective as the patient’s scores are taken, but they can tell you more about the change in movements. As for the holes in the field that Jonathan put up with when communicating with patients in the clinic, he is working hard to make them a thing of the past.

Previous CEO profile: Shannon Falconer (biotech and pet food)

Next CEO profile: Erik S. Poulsen (Danish CEO who is all over active learning)

Cohort VI of the RebelBio accelerator is taking place in Imperial College White City Incubator, London. They are also supported by Capital Enterprise.

Companies or prospective entrepreneurs who would like to avail of funding, mentorship & support for early-stage life sciences they can apply or show their interest here.




Posts from HAX (hardware), IndieBio (life sciences), Chinaccelerator/MOX (cross-border internet), and dlab (blockchain).

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RebelBio is a pre-seed VC brand of SOSV that accelerated 78 biotech startups. It has since merged with SOSV’s IndieBio brand & is now based in NYC.

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