Why We Invested: ODAIA Intelligence
Updated: May 17
As skilled and advanced as the $2T pharma industry is in many regards, there are still key areas where it lags behind, and we believe there are numerous opportunities for AI to help in ways that impact lives for the better. One prime example — getting the right therapeutics to the right patients. This sounds simple and logical, but it is not easy in a large and complex healthcare system with conflicting incentives, privacy concerns, levels of awareness, strict regulations and constantly changing dynamics. Yet the data exists today that, harnessed properly, can provide vast improvements to current systems and practices.
ODAIA Intelligence, based in Toronto, Canada, provides an AI driven solution to pharmaceutical companies that makes the process of finding the right physicians and patients, those that need their therapies, much more efficient and cost effective. ODAIA rapidly and continually ingests numerous sources of data, aligns them into a unified sequence of relevant “events”, and applies a combination of AI models that are automatically selected based upon the specific stated goal, be that bringing a new drug to market or increasing awareness of an existing one. In this way, ODAIA can discover patterns that only reveal themselves when multiple distinct data inputs are combined and analyzed at scale. To be clear, ODAIA is not looking to replace humans with AI, but to arm them with more intelligence that allows them to make better use of time, spending less on data analysis and targeting, and more on actual physician and patient engagement.
During our diligence into ODAIA’s market, we spoke with more than a dozen industry professionals working in leadership positions within the go-to-market teams of major pharmaceutical companies, including Takeda, Vertex, Janssen, EMD Serono, Ipsen, Novo Nordisk, Genetech, Sanofi and others. Some of the notable quotes were heard were “pharma is data rich and insights poor; culture of pharma is still very siloed” and “there is a clear need for analytical help in commercial pharma; most sales ops, sales managers are focused on keeping the trains running on time; analytics teams are mostly focused elsewhere; can only do this with really expensive consultants.”
The consistent message was that pharma is still behind in the adoption and use of robust, scalable and dynamic analytics with regards to actionable market intelligence. While consulting providers or internal groups have custom built systems, they struggle to adapt as the market changes and are expensive to maintain. They also do not scale well across the entire organization. Furthermore, the difficulty of attracting and retaining qualified data science talent exacerbates this issue. This feedback served to reinforce the scope and magnitude of the opportunity to bring a cutting-edge data ingestion and analytics platform to the commercial teams within pharma to better find and communicate with the most relevant doctors and their patients. What was also clear, is that without effective engagement from Pharma, it is very hard for physicians to stay up to date with new developments and therapies in their field. There exists a substantial gap between what is commonly known and what is available in many areas of medicine still. ODAIA’s solution helps to address this issue by identifying which physicians are not yet aware of newer therapeutic options, and determining which channel(s) will be most effective with regards to providing ongoing education.
While the clear and substantial opportunity and powerful platform were compelling factors, the ODAIA team, made up of a strong combination of startup growth experience, domain depth and technical expertise, gave us confidence that ODAIA is well positioned to emerge as a successful provider to this market. Led by co-founder and CEO, Philip Poulidis, a highly experienced startup and technology executive, the ODAIA team brings together seasoned pharma and life sciences professionals, with savvy and creative technical product builders and data scientists, with portions of the team having worked together with Philip previously. Largely born in a post-COVID world, the team has built a strong culture despite the lack of a formal physical office. One of the many ways that Philip impressed our team through the process, was driving to Boston to meet with us in person in the conference room and over dinner.
We are thrilled to now be a part of the extended ODAIA team as a result of our investment alongside new co-investors Flint Capital and Alumni Ventures, and existing investors BDC Capital, MaRS, Panache and StandUp Ventures. ODAIA represents our core thesis well, matching the power of data and AI to major industries in ways that drive growth, reduce inefficiency and benefit society.