This morning artificial intelligence-based drug discovery platform Atomwise scored a whopping $123 million in Series B funding led by B Capital Group and Sanabil Investments. DCVC, BV, Tencent, Y Combinator, Dolby Family Venture and AME Cloud Ventures also participated in the funding round.
WHAT IT DOES
The company uses artificial intelligence, specifically “convolution neural networks,” in order to assist with drug discovery efforts. Its platform, called AtomNet, was designed to go through data and statistics in order to pull out insights.
The startup developed the tool to help researchers answer questions about different drugs potentials and targets. The tech can comb through data and find patterns.
Primarily the company caters to pharma companies and research institutions. Its partner list includes Bayer, Merck and Abbvie.
WHAT ITS FOR
The company said that the new funds are going to be put toward its internal drug development efforts and used to grow its partnership programs.
“Over the past three years, our platform, AtomNet, has tackled – and succeeded – in finding small molecule hits for more undruggable targets than any other AI drug discovery platform,” Abraham Heifets, CEO and cofounder of Atomwise, said in a statement. “With support from our new and existing investment partners, we will be able to leverage this to develop our own pipeline of small molecule drug programs, further grow our portfolio of joint-venture investments, and realize our vision to create better medicines that can improve the lives of billions of people.”
It’s no secret that the pharmaceutical world is interested in tapping AI for drug discovery. In May, insitro and Exscientia, both startups focused on using artificial intelligence to drive the discovery of new drugs, raised large sums of money. Insitro scored $143 million and Exscientia landed $60 million.
Another in the space is BenevolentAI, a U.K. company that also uses AI tech for R&D, which scored $115 million in funds in 2018.
ON THE RECORD
“New technologies are enabling better and faster R&D for the life science industry,” Raj Ganguly, cofounder and managing partner at B Capital Group, said in a statement. “The advancements Atomwise has made with its computational drug discovery platform have effectively cut months or even years off of the R&D lifecycle. More importantly, however, they are solving biology problems previously believed to be unsolvable by researchers and delivering that capability to everyone from academics to big pharma. We’re excited to continue to partner with the Atomwise team on its mission to develop new, more effective therapies.”