Today’s Architects/Sidarth Radjou

Sidarth Radjou

CEO at Okomera

Revolutionizing vital cancer treatment with AI and data, built on a foundation of trust

Sidarth Radjou - CEO at Okomera - IBM Z enthusiast

I think we talk a lot about ethical AI and that’s also a big topic around data privacy. But I think the ethics are something that is really at the core of the values of IBM.”

About Sidarth

This year, over 18 million new patients will learn they have cancer, and no two of those cancers will be exactly the same. Each cancer, like each individual, is unique, requiring its own treatment regimen. Today, there are more than one hundred different chemotherapy drugs available in various combinations to combat cancer, from antimetabolites to mitotic inhibitors. Finding the right combination of chemotherapy drugs quickly is critical in the treatment of cancer, yet this process is still largely a case of trial and error, as about half of all new cancer patients don’t respond well to the first chemotherapy treatment prescribed.

Sidarth Radjou wants to improve those odds. As the Chief Executive Officer of Okomera, a France- and U.S.-based startup, he and his team are using artificial intelligence and industry-leading IBM Z® security technology to help hospitals improve the efficacy of chemotherapy treatments. Okomera’s pioneering technology is able to clone tumors (called tumoroids) in a lab environment from very small cell samples and treat them with various chemotherapy drugs to measure their effectiveness, usually within 5 to 10 working days. In doing so, Okomera’s technology is improving the efficacy of first-line chemotherapy

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Sidarth Radjou wants to improve those odds. As the Chief Executive Officer of Okomera, a France- and U.S.-based startup, he and his team are using artificial intelligence and industry-leading IBM Z® security technology to help hospitals improve the efficacy of chemotherapy treatments. Okomera’s pioneering technology is able to clone tumors (called tumoroids) in a lab environment from very small cell samples and treat them with various chemotherapy drugs to measure their effectiveness, usually within 5 to 10 working days. In doing so, Okomera’s technology is improving the efficacy of first-line chemotherapy treatments, particularly in cases of pediatric cancer where large biopsies are either unavailable or impractical.

Sidarth has always been passionate about healthcare, having grown up in a family of doctors and engineers. “I grew up watching patients and listening to patient’s stories at night,” Sidarth shares. “It became very quickly obvious for me that, as an engineer, using technology to solve patients’ problems was my driver in life.” Along his entrepreneurial journey, Sidarth passionately co-founded an innovative startup pioneering the fusion of 3D printing and AI for lifelike anatomical models. He has also held multiple tech consulting roles that further underscore his strong commitment to using data science and AI to drive impactful solutions. After graduating from CentraleSupélec, a prestigious French institute of research and higher education in engineering sciences, Sidarth delved into the dynamic field of healthcare innovation. Now, as the CEO of Okomera, he channels this passion into reshaping cancer treatments through data science, AI, and microfluidics. Beyond career milestones, Sidarth's narrative is one of dedication to leveraging technology for tangible and meaningful change, especially in healthcare, where the stakes are high, and the impact on people's lives is direct.

Creating a chain of trust

Analyzing the data is a critical part of Okomera’s solution, so is protecting that data. Sidarth describes this as a chain of trust. “There is a clear regulatory framework around how you should deal with patient data,” he explains. “The data of a patient who has cancer is under the ownership of the patient. The patient gives permission for the doctor to use their personal and sensitive data because they believe that the doctor can make good use of it to help find a cure. So, this is a chain of trust, and data privacy is about not breaking that chain of trust.”

IBM Z Systems and the IBM Hyper Protect security solution play an important role in establishing and maintaining that trust. “There is great trust around the IBM brand,” Sidarth says. “IBM is one of the most well-known hardware and software companies in the world and works with many of the biggest and most prestigious hospitals in the world. That helps us a lot when we say, we use IBM Hyper Protect Services for security and data privacy, because we are able to build trust instantly thanks to the powerful global brand of IBM.”

Using security to unlock business potential

Beyond helping them build trust with their healthcare customers, IBM has also helped Sidarth and Okomera build up their business. Since Okomera is part of the IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator program, Sidarth and his team were able to have ongoing access to IBM industry and technology experts, investors, and other startups in the program from across different industries and around the world. “Working with people in different backgrounds from different industries and seeing the way they approach the same problem differently really brings a uniqueness and richness to your own solution,” Sidarth says. As part of the IBM Hyper Protect Accelerator, IBM also helped Okomera fine-tune their solution, build business cases around their technology, and introduced them to global investors who were interested in what the company had to offer.

As for the technical solution, Sidarth sees it as an essential means to hyper-secure their data, protect the chain of trust, and unlock their potential. IBM Hyper Protect Crypto Services (HPCS) helps Okomera manage cryptography keys that secure their sensitive data. By storing these keys in hardware-backed secure vaults, IBM ensures that only Okomera and their collaborators have access to their data. IBM HPCS extends this enclave of protection throughout Okomera’s multi-cloud environment, enabling them to share insights with doctors and hospitals around the world on any number of different cloud platforms. This solution is built on FIPS 140-2 Level 4 certified hardware, the highest available professional standard for cybersecurity products, ensuring hospitals, patients, and pharmaceutical companies that the data being shared is safe secure, and compliant with both industry and regional data privacy requirements.

For Sidarth and Okomera, working with IBM isn’t simply the smart thing to do, but the right thing to do. “I think we talk a lot about ethical AI,” he says, “and that’s also a big topic around data privacy. But I think the ethics are something that is really at the core of the values of IBM.”

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