AI channel feed

Andrew Hopkins, Exscientia

Black­Rock push­es Ex­sci­en­tia Se­ries C to $100M as AI biotech boom con­tin­ues

The jury’s still out on whether the first wave of AI companies can significantly change drug development, but investors are increasingly buying into the hype.

Exscientia, the decade-old UK machine learning outfit, announced Thursday that they’ve expanded their Series C, first announced in May, from $60 million to $100 million. The expansion most notably includes BlackRock, the private equity firm that has been wading deeper and deeper into biotech. They now join Novo Holdings, Bristol Myers Squibb and others among the company’s most recent backers.

Alex Zhavoronkov (Insilico)

In­sil­i­co preps first can­di­date for IND stud­ies, hop­ing to launch tri­al in IPF by end of 2021

Over the last several years, Alex Zhavoronkov has turned Insilico into one of the most well-connected AI biotechs out there. Now, the Hong Kong-based company is one step closer to reaching the clinic.

Insilico is bringing its first candidate into IND-enabling studies, Zhavoronkov announced Wednesday, with the goal of launching an in-human trial at some point later this year. The move marks what he says is a first in AI drug discovery, as both the target and small-molecule inhibitor involved in the program are completely new and AI-generated.

Noam Solomon and Luis Voloch (Immunai)

Wad­ing deep­er in­to tar­get dis­cov­ery and val­i­da­tion, Im­mu­nai bags $60M to beef up both AI al­go­rithms and lab bench­es

Noam Solomon and Luis Voloch set out, when they launched Immunai in 2018, to map out the immune system cell by cell.

The two engineers — who had met at MIT and like to illustrate their company’s stature by pointing out the number of employees who had been trained at Palantir, Google or Facebook — saw the potential in collating all the information churned out by a single cell-sequencing multi-omics platform. You can tell drugmakers what exactly is in their cell therapy products, profile for academics the immune response to their experimental treatments, or even suggest new biomarkers that seem to be relevant in a disease.

Dyno sketch­es tens of thou­sands of vi­able next-gen AAV cap­sids with the help of ma­chine learn­ing — pa­per

Since its launch in May 2020, Dyno Therapeutics has touted its platform’s potential to discover viable variations of current-gen AAVs with noticeable limitations in terms of patient safety and efficacy. Now, according to a new study, Dyno has used its neural network to outline tens of thousands of variants that could add weight to its mission to build a better capsid.

In a study meant to determine how many viable variants of the AAV2 capsid it could design with the aid of machine learning, Dyno sketched out more than 100,000 viruses that could be used to carry gene therapies, according to a new paper published in Nature Biotechnology.

Mark DePristo (L) and Peyton Greenside (BigHat)

On the hunt for a bet­ter an­ti­body, BigHat Bio­sciences de­buts with $19M Se­ries A to scale its 'wet lab' AI plat­form

Next-gen antibodies have become somewhat of a Holy Grail in the drug development world, but the process of actually creating those antibodies has proven to be difficult and time consuming. A brand-new California outfit is looking to solve that time crunch by bringing AI and machine learning into the lab.

BigHat Biosciences debuted Wednesday with a $19 million Series A round to help scale up its “wet lab” AI and machine learning platform to speed development of next-gen antibodies.

Reverie Labs founders Jonah Kallenbach and Ankit Gupta

Roche and Genen­tech's lat­est AI col­lab­o­ra­tor rais­es $25M Se­ries A to rein­vent one of the old­est can­cer tar­gets

Jonah Kallenbach spent the summer before his senior year with Anton, the hulking fluorescent supercomputer housed in the midtown Manhattan offices of hedge fund D.E. Shaw. Armed with 512 processors running in parallel, it’s been used since 2008 to probe some of the biggest questions in protein folding and structure.

Kallenbach can’t talk much about what he worked on, but he was hooked, and after his last year at Harvard, he wanted to go into drug development. But when he went looking for pharma roles, he found few of the companies had space for computationals. Or they had space, but that space was small and cordoned off from the rest of a massive organization.

As­traZeneca scores new goal on the pipeline front, adding its first AI-gen­er­at­ed tar­get to the port­fo­lio

As more and more biopharmas develop artificial intelligence platforms, the drug discovery process is being reshaped to fit new goals on cutting down the prodigious amount of time, energy and money that go into a drug program. Now one of the most ambitious players in the drive to improve on ROI, AstraZeneca, is marking a milestone on that front by adding the first target generated by AI to its portfolio.

Sean McClain, AbSci

On a mis­sion to 'u­ni­fy' drug dis­cov­ery and cell-line de­vel­op­ment, Ab­Sci ac­quires AI out­fit De­n­ovi­um

Imagine discovering a drug and cell line at the click of a button. That’s the goal of AbSci CEO Sean McClain — and on Monday, he closed on a deal to buy Denovium and its AI engine that transcends the human brain and even the best of lab tools.

“Essentially what we’re doing is we’re taking all this data…that looks at manufacturability and drug functionality, and then feeding it into the AI platform that’s continually learning,” McClain told Endpoints. “Every molecule we have is fed into the model,” he said.

Andrew Hopkins (Exscientia)

Look­ing to solve pub­lic health crises through dis­cov­ery, Gates Foun­da­tion taps AI firm Ex­sci­en­tia to look for an­swers

Despite astronomical advances in medicine over the past few decades, public health has continued to confound researchers, particularly in developing nations. Could AI help crack the code on cheap and effective drug discovery for public health? A Gates-backed AI firm is looking to find out.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded UK-based AI outfit Exscientia a $4.2 million grant to help identify existing therapies and new molecules that could be used to tackle public health crises, including malaria and tuberculosis as well as maternal and infant mortality through contraceptives.

Pear Therapeutics president and CEO Corey McCann (Pear)

Pear Ther­a­peu­tics nabs $80M Se­ries D to com­mer­cial­ize three dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics

As the pandemic rages on, virtual care options have investors champing at the bit. Boston-based Pear Therapeutics is the latest to benefit, reeling in $80 million to commercialize its three prescription digital therapeutics.

The digital therapeutics umbrella encompasses technology like mobile apps and telemedicine platforms designed to prevent, treat or manage disease. Some are used alone, while others are combined with medication.