AIMuno and Roche Innovation Incubator Collaboration


Healthcare solution company Roche Latvia has signed an agreement with the first start-up to take part in Roche's Innovation Incubator – AIMuno. The project involves the use of artificial intelligence for the improvement of efficacy in lung cancer treatment. The AIMuno goal is to create a biomarker which will utilise artificial intelligence to process patients’ data and make predictions on the potential efficacy of immunotherapy in different groups of patients for further treatment choice.

“The project aims to study the morphology and genetics of lung cancer samples to figure out whether patients can benefit from immunotherapy which helps the immune system identify and destroy tumour cells,” explains AIMuno Board member Vismands Menjoks.

"There is an unmet need in understanding why only around 20% of patients respond to immunotherapy and precisely identify those patients who will benefit from this type of treatment," comments Valeria Kogan, co-founder of SmartOmica and a Board member of AIMuno.

AIMuno is working on an AI-based solution to identify patients for whom the therapy will work, as opposed to those who will not benefit from it. The developed solution can be further used by the pharma as a companion diagnostic to recommend the best therapy and the use of the most effective drugs that would help patients. This solution could also be used by diagnostic companies to study patients’ samples and provide doctors with more personalised treatment recommendations to improve treatment efficacy and optimise the use of clinical resources

“We are proud of our agreement with the AIMuno team and the first project supported by the Roche Innovation Incubator. It is a pleasure to see the sparks in the eyes of the AIMuno team and that they want to create innovations in the area of medicine. The idea from AIMuno of using artificial intelligence and computer vision is a non-standard solution that offers hope. We were also encouraged by the fact that the start-up has international contacts, which may be of decisive importance in selling the products that are being developed. A recommendation from the Advisor to Latvia's president, Rolands Lappuķe, was also important," emphasised Rauls Vēliņš, the Director of Roche Latvia. “This project is an example of how Latvia can be a place where experts from all around the world come together to work in biotechnology solutions with a high level of added value”.

“The synergy between smart technologies and the medical sector has become more and more powerful each year, offering solutions which help people to improve their quality of life. Such projects are very welcome because they prove the potential of Latvia's biomedicine ecosystems that are being developed. They can be among the leaders in the area of such technologies,” says Rolands Lappuķe, the Advisor to the President of Latvia on Smart Technologies.

The Director of the Technology Department of the Latvian Investment and Development Agency, Lauma Muižniece, stresses that such support facilities for researchers and entrepreneurs are of great importance. "Not only funding is crucial for the development of new products and technologies, but also feedback from potential customers and partners to ensure the viability of an idea and its future development. Advice from experienced professionals from the sector at an early stage of product development can help avoid various risks, as well as to identify the most promising directions for the use of the product or technology. Such private sector initiatives, where experienced companies share their experience and support new entrants into the market – both new companies and researchers, thus, creating an open environment for the development of innovative solutions and raising them to the next level, are truly appreciated,” says L. Muižniece.

About the Roche Innovation Incubator

Health care solution company Roche Latvia established its Innovation Incubator in July 2020, and by 27 July, it had already announced its first project competition aimed at processing and analysing morphological materials related to lung cancer and the development of artificial intelligence in this area. The incubator aims to facilitate and support the preparation of new and innovative ideas, as well as research in specific areas of health care and the creation of new and relevant products and/or services. The incubator is a permanent platform for new ideas, and support from Roche Latvia will be provided for those who wish to develop ideas about innovative solutions. If the idea is already in process and the need is to continue its development and research, the support recipient can seek practical and consultative support from Roche Latvia, which may take the form of providing office space, availability of equipment, specialist advice etc. The principle of the Innovation Incubator is that the maximum period for developing detailed ideas is three months after the partnership agreement is concluded. After those three months, a team evaluates what has been achieved and decides on whether to continue the partnership. If it is shown during the development of an idea that it can be turned into a product or service and that financial or other support is needed to continue to develop it and/or to release it into the market, then the partnership agreement can be extended, and Roche Latvia may sign another agreement on the provision of financing for the further pursuit of the idea.


Roche is the world's largest biotech company, designing and manufacturing special medications to treat diseases related to oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology, and the central nervous system. Roche is also a world leader in the area of in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, as well as Roche is on the front lines when providing treatment for diabetics. More than 30 drugs from Roche are on the list of essentially important medications of the World Health Organisation, and among them are live-saving antibiotics, anti-malaria drugs, and medications to treat cancer. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, the Roche Group operates in more than 100 countries and globally employed around 98,000 people in 2019. In 2019, Roche invested 11.7 billion Swiss francs (CHF) in research and development, and the company's revenues amounted to CHF 61.5 billion. The Roche Group also owns the Genetech company, which is in the United States. Roche is a majority shareholder in the Chugai Pharmaceutical company in Japan. According to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Roche has been one of the most sustainable companies in the pharmaceutical industry for the past 11 years.