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Bid­ding to be the go-to ge­nomics and da­ta part­ner for drug de­vel­op­ment, Sophia Ge­net­ics rais­es $100M

Jurgi Camblong has spent the last decade going from minor funding round to minor funding round for his startup, Sophia Genetics, adding hospitals in the UK, US, and Latin America and expanding the platform to handle more and more data. Now, Camblong says, the company has spread far enough and has now raised plenty of cash to clear one of its last hurdles.

In the sixth and largest funding round in their 9-year history, Sophia Genetics has raised $110 million to push forward its AI-based platform for genetic medicine with a renewed focus on taking their established infrastructure and using it help biopharma collect evidence and design trials. The round was led the Israeli firm aMoon and the Japanese firm Hitachi Ventures.

Mer­ck­'s Roger Perl­mut­ter makes a rare move, join­ing the board of a ma­chine learn­ing start­up out to change the R&D world. And he has some thoughts on that

Back in 2013, after a stint running R&D at Amgen followed by some independent time roaming the industry, Roger Perlmutter rejoined Merck and dedicated himself entirely to restoring the glean to the pharma giant’s tarnished rep. And one of the first things he did was shed his board memberships on the for-profit side of the industry.

He only took one biotech board post since then — at a promising startup called Exonics — which was bought out by Vertex.

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Soft­Bank, Morn­ing­side help put US-Chi­na AI play­er on the map with $318M bet

Before Tencent made its first foray into AI-aided drug discovery this July, the Chinese tech giant had bought itself a line into the burgeoning field.

Tencent had backed a US-China AI startup by the name of XtalPi late 2015, and kept following up through two $15 million and $46 million rounds through 2018. Now SoftBank, Morningside and the venture arm of a Chinese government-owned insurance group are all following its lead, headlining a Series C that brings in a whopping $318.8 million.

Maureen Hillenmeyer, Hexagon Bio CEO

Us­ing AI to se­quence fun­gi genomes for can­cer treat­ments, Hexa­gon Bio nets $47M in Se­ries A

A Stanford spinout exploring how fungi can be sequenced to discover new medicines in oncology and infectious diseases now has significantly more cash to do so.

Early Tuesday morning, Hexagon Bio announced the closing of their Series A financing, pulling in $47 million from a group of investors led by The Column Group. The round, which also saw participation from 8VC and Two Sigma Ventures, will go toward creating a proprietary genomics database as well as building out a drug discovery team to develop the new compounds. Hexagon brought on Tod Smeal as its new CSO after he served in the same position at Lilly Research Labs.

Robin Li, Baidu CEO, at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, July 9, 2020 (Zhai Huiyong, Imaginechina via AP Images)

As Chi­na's tech gi­ants catch on­to biotech, Baidu plots $2B start­up fo­cused on di­ag­no­sis, AI drug dis­cov­ery

When China’s biggest search engine builder forays into biotech, expect it to move in large strides.

Baidu is reportedly scouting around for investors to collectively put $2 billion behind a biotech startup that would leverage its artificial intelligence technologies in disease diagnosis and drug discovery — following in the footsteps of American tech giants while joining its Chinese counterparts in making healthcare investments.

Geoff von Maltzahn, Molly Gibson, Avak Kahvejian, Gevorg Grigoryan (Flagship)

FL56+FL57= in­fi­nite pos­si­bil­i­ties? Flag­ship's hy­brid start­up takes ma­chine learn­ing in drug dis­cov­ery to the next lev­el — and Covid-19 of­fers a quick test

On his faculty directory page at Dartmouth, Gevorg Grigoryan is unequivocal about his key fascination: “understanding the language of proteins.”

For the longtime researcher of computational protein design, it means uncovering the generalizable principles that govern the structure of biology’s fundamental building blocks. A comprehensive statistical analysis of all the molecules in the Protein Data Bank back in 2016 yielded the key insight that proteins often transfer information in certain design elements dubbed tertiary structural motifs.

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Chris Gibson, Recursion CEO (Vaughn Ridley/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images)

Re­cur­sion nabs $239M and an up to $1B part­ner­ship with Bay­er as AI race heats up

Some biotechs struggle for cash. Recursion, lately, seems to be swimming in it.

Today, having already raised over $180 million in the last two years, the Salt Lake City-based AI drug developer announced a $239 million Series D. That’s more than any US or European biotech has raised in a round this year and more than all but two biotechs raised last year. (Mabwell, a Shanghai-based antibody developer, raised $278 million in a Series A in April.)

Hal Barron, GSK R&D chief

Build­ing up its AI op­er­a­tions, GSK opens a $13M Lon­don hub with plans to woo tal­ent now trekking to Sil­i­con Val­ley

Continuing its efforts to ramp up global AI operations, GlaxoSmithKline has opened a £10 million ($13 million-plus) research base in Kings Cross, London.

The AI hotspot is already home to Google’s DeepMind, and the Francis Crick and Alan Turing research institutes. GSK said it hopes to “tap into the huge London tech talent pool” and attract candidates who might otherwise head to Silicon Valley.

Alex Zhavoronkov (Insilico)

Weeks af­ter launch, Alex Zha­voronkov's AI-in­spired longevi­ty spin­out sells to Hong Kong-list­ed group

When Alex Zhavoronkov unveiled Insilico’s longevity-focused spinout, he kept the precise amount of Series A funding under wraps — disclosing only that it’s in the “few million” dollar range — but had its marquee syndicate on full display.

Human Longevity, a collaborator, co-led the round with ETP Ventures and Performance Impact Venture Fund, flanked by BOLD Capital Partners, Longevity Vision Fund, Oculus co-founder Michael Antonov through Formic Ventures and LongeVC.

Atomwise co-founders Abe Heifets and Izhar Wallach (photo courtesy Atomwise)

Plot­ting to be the Bridge­Bio of AI, Atom­wise lands $123 mil­lion Se­ries B for hype-heavy plat­form

The PR-friendly, well-partnered AI biotech that’s provoked stern skepticism in some scientific corners is getting a boatload of new cash.

Atomwise has announced a $123 million Series B round led by Sanabil Investments — a subsidiary of the Saudi royal fund — and B Capital Group and joined by DCVC and Y Combinator, among others. The new round is nearly triple what Atomwise had raised prior and will go towards both scaling their molecule-hunting software and building the growing network of spinouts they’re launching to develop some of the molecules that software has turned up.