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Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence: ImpriMed CEO Sungwon Lim (Part 1)

Posted on Tuesday, May 24th 2022

Wonderful story of cutting edge application of AI in cancer treatment.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself, a bit of your background, and then ImpriMed.

Sungwon Lim: I’m the CEO and Founder of ImpriMed. We turned five on May 4th this year. Our company provides an AI-driven drug response prediction service for cancer patients. What is unique about us is we are helping our dogs and cats with cancer.

We know how to keep the cancer cells alive after it is taken out. Once we receive these cancer cells, we test various anti-cancer drugs and then analyze that using AI to predict the drugs that will be most likely to work. We provide this information to the doctor so they can improve their treatment decisions.

Sramana Mitra: What is your background?

Sungwon Lim: Since 2002, I have been a bio-engineer. My undergraduate degree was in Biochemical Engineering. I did my Master’s and Ph.D. in Bioengineering. I also have a four-year experience in a pharmaceutical company.

Sramana Mitra: How did you come up with this idea?

Sungwon Lim: It’s under the same umbrella as cancer. Before founding this company, I worked in a pharmaceutical company and in the oldest academic projects that are related to developing new cancer drugs. It was super exciting. I really enjoyed it a lot. More and more, I realized that it takes a long time and a lot of money.

The success rate from the design to the actual patient bedside is very small. I realized that there are 26,000 people dying every day because of cancer. These 26,000 people don’t have time and money to wait for new drugs. What I want to do is help these people to get treatment today. The solution that I came up with is personalized medicine which is trying to optimize what we have in our medical toolboxes.

Sramana Mitra: Did I hear you right that you are applying it to cats and dogs first?

Sungwon Lim: Right.

Sramana Mitra: What is the range of medicine available for cats and dogs that you have analyzed and modeled in your AI system?

Sungwon Lim: We are sharing a lot of drugs with animals. Theoretically and technically, all FDA-approved drugs are available for dogs and cats. There are only four FDA-approved drugs specifically for dogs and none for cats. All the other human FDA-approved drugs are being utilized for our dog and cat cancer treatment.

There are all types of anti-cancer drugs. There’s the conventional chemotherapy. There are targeted inhibitors and immunotherapy. These are all available. Mostly, the widely used drugs are chemotherapy drugs. There are companies like Pet Medics that develop dog-specific antibody therapeutics. There is a company called Elias. They are developing immunotherapy. It’s animal cancer treatment.

Sramana Mitra: You’re testing your approach on animal cells and, once this works on animal cells, start doing this on humans.

Sungwon Lim: That’s correct.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence: ImpriMed CEO Sungwon Lim
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