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U of Maryland-Baltimore start-up develops analytics platform that helps in drug development

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2020

PUMAS-AI, a start-up from the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB), has collaborated with MIT researchers to launch a new analytics platform that aids in the development of pharmaceutical drugs.

Pumas 1.0 uses data from a pharmaceutical company to predict the success rate or possible outcome of a new treatment, allowing scientists to manage risk in drug development. For example, a company working on a COVID-19 vaccine could use Pumas 1.0 to identify potential issues or problems before moving into the clinical testing phase.

According to PUMAS-AI co-founders Joga Gobburu and Vijay Ivaturi, who are both faculty members at UMB, modeling and simulations aren’t new in drug development. But unlike existing technologies, Pumas 1.0 offers the capacity for machine learning, as well as the open source nature of being created in one programming language.

“Scientists write software and they want it to be used,” says Alan Edelman, professor at MIT and  co-creator of the Julia programming language used in Pumas 1.0. “It’s no longer enough to build an application the old school way and just remain static. Now you have to move along and build on top of the world’s greatest scientists and be carried upward by them.”

In addition to working with drug developers, PUMAS-AI has made the new program free for all academic and noncommercial use.


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