Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, is now a household name thanks to its development of one of the leading vaccines against Covid-19.

When Pfizer works on its next breakthrough – whether that’s a booster shot against the novel coronavirus or an entirely different class of drugs – an Israeli startup will be helping the New York-based firm develop the next generation of drugs more efficiently and effectively.

CytoReason has a machine-learning platform that essentially serves as a “GPS for the immune system.” For Pfizer, that means aggregating data from sources including in-house data, clinical studies, and the large body of published research on the immune system.

Just as a GPS traffic app helps find the fastest route home, Pfizer scientists can use CytoReason’s machine-learning model to uncover insights into the biology of autoimmune diseases, suggest new drug targets and identify patients who may benefit the most from a certain medicine. CytoReason’s technology can uncover critical information on immune functioning down to the molecular level.

With the estimated cost of developing a new FDA-approved medicine at $2.6 billion, any technique or technology that can laser focus a pharmaceutical company on the right molecules to research has enormous real-world implications.

“We believe that CytoReason’s platform has the potential to offer valuable insights that may be applied to our research into the human immune system,” said Michael Vincent, Chief Scientific Officer, Inflammation & Immunology, Pfizer. “Leveraging technologies such as this can help us understand disease and prioritize targets, and support our mission of bringing innovative new therapies to patients who need them.”

CytoReason has relationships with three of the world’s eight largest pharmaceutical companies and has collaborated with British multinational GlaxoSmithKline and with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. CytoReason has a partnership with Summit Pharmaceuticals of Japan.

CytoReason has “one of the world’s largest libraries of human molecular data and a platform to make that data accessible and useful,” the company says. “CytoReason’s cell-level models are used by some of the largest pharmaceutical companies, enabling them to discover and develop the right therapies for the right patients, at the right time.”

CytoReason was founded in 2016 by researchers and scientists from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The company’s technology has yielded five pending patents, 10 commercial and scientific collaborations, and 17 peer-reviewed publications.