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Small AI biotech BioX­cel surges on pos­i­tive PhI­II re­sults, set­ting up de­men­tia and Alzheimer’s test

A small biotech added a few hundred million dollars in market value Monday morning after announcing positive Phase III results from their lead neurology drug.

The drug, known as BXCL501, comes from BioXcel, one of a slate of biotechs that has raised millions in recent years on the promise of using artificial intelligence and other advanced computational techniques to speed up the sluggish pace of drug development. Similar to the more prominent Recursion, the company aimed to use its tech to find compounds that other companies or researchers had validated to some degree and repurpose them, particularly in the areas of neurodegeneration, mental health and immuno-oncology.

Re­gen­eron joins $100M round for DNAnexus and its cloud-com­put­ing DNA soft­ware

DNAnexus has been accruing capital and customers for over a decade, since the DNA computing company spun out of Stanford in 2009. Now, two years after their last funding round, the company has raised its largest round yet, at $100 million, and secured what may be its most intriguing investor: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

Using Amazon Web Services, DNAnexus provides a platform for researchers, regulators and companies to host and analyze their increasingly large sets of genomic data. In 2014, Regeneron was one of the major biotechs to partner with the company. They signed a deal to use DNAnexus’s platform cloud-computing software for translational work at the Regeneron Genetics Center, including by allowing the center to combine de-identified DNA samples with de-identified clinical information from healthcare providers to guide drug discovery.

Daphne Koller, insitro CEO (insitro)

Daphne Koller’s AI start­up gets $143M in new cash from a16z, oth­ers

Biotech is becoming saturated with machine learning companies promising to reinvent and hasten drug development, but few, if any, have amassed the war chest Daphne Koller has.

Entering Tuesday, the former Stanford professor, MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Coursera founder and chief computing officer of Google’s secretive anti-aging biotech Calico had raised $100 million for her AI startup insitro. Now she’s raised $143 million more.

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Andrew Hopkins, Exscientia founder and CEO (Exscientia)

Af­ter years of part­ner­ships, AI biotech Ex­sci­en­tia lands first ma­jor fi­nanc­ing round at $60M

After years racking up partnerships with biotechs and Big Pharma, the AI drug developer Exscientia has landed its first large financing round.

The UK-based company raised $60 million in a Series C round led by Novo Holdings — more than double the $26 million it garnered in a Series B 18 months ago. The round will help further the company’s expansion into the US and further what it calls, borrowing a term from the software world, its “full-stack capabilities,” i.e. its ability to develop drugs from the earliest stage to the market.

Iya Khalil (Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation via YouTube)

No­var­tis taps Iya Khalil, physi­cist co-founder of GNS Health­care, to lead AI In­no­va­tion Cen­ter

At the turn of the millennium, finishing up her PhD in theoretical physics, Iya Khalil found the career paths in front of her wanting. Academic postings were tough to get, but she couldn’t envision applying all she’s learned to predict stocks on Wall Streets, as some of her contemporaries did.

She was working on models of two-dimensional electron gas, a topic in solid-state physics, when she met Colin Hill, the fellow Cornell physicist with whom she would later start a company named Gene Network Sciences.

Luis Voloch and Noam Solomon (Immunai)

Stan­ford, Park­er In­sti­tute sci­en­tists team up with two young en­gi­neers in $20M AI play with an im­munol­o­gy fo­cus

Almost a year ago, a group of scientists at Stanford and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy published a paper in Nature Medicine that challenged a common assumption about where tumor fighting cells come from: While researchers had thought that the role of checkpoint blockade was to reinvigorate T cells already present in the tumor, they suggested that the vast majority actually didn’t come from the tumor sites at all.

J&J R&D ex­ec Na­jat Khan — and da­ta sci­ence — are get­ting an el­e­vat­ed role at the phar­ma gi­ant

J&J R&D chief Mathai Mammen announced on LinkedIn that Najat Khan, who had been COO in the research arm, has been given the title of chief data science officer — fitting into a trend over the last 2 years as the major players in the industry look for new and better ways to manage the massive and growing volume of data now at their disposal.

Khan, he enthused, is bilingual in two key languages: the science of drug development as well as data sciences. And handled properly, that can guide R&D to more wins with lower costs — a longtime mantra in a world where ROI is generally sorely lacking.

Boehringer In­gel­heim adds sec­ond AI part­ner in a month

Three weeks after signing a deal with one AI-focused biotech, Boehringer Ingelheim is adding another.

The German pharma has announced a partnership with BERG, the data analysis and Bayesian AI company founded over a decade ago by real estate billionaire Carl Berg. Berg will use its computer and wet lab platform to investigate inflammatory diseases, most notably attempting coming up with causes, biomarkers, drug targets and drugs for inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease.

Lantern Phar­ma charts course for IPO with AI plat­form that shines light on failed can­cer drugs

Artificial intelligence — the cure-all for the pesky process of making a therapeutic, including data mining, drug discovery, optimal drug delivery and addressable patient population — is being employed by yet another biotech: Lantern Pharma.

The company, which uses its AI platform to identify patients that could benefit from its targeted oncology therapies, on Thursday unveiled plans to make its public debut in an up to $29 million IPO.

Mol­e­cule-in-21-days AI start­up In­sil­i­co adds Boehringer to list of Big Phar­ma part­ners

Seven months after their headline-grabbing Nature Biotechnology study and in the throes of a Covid-19 research effort, Hong Kong-based AI startup Insilico Medicine has nabbed a new Big Pharma partner: Boehringer Ingelheim.

The deal is with Boehringer’s Research Beyond Borders, an initiative devoted to finding and partnering with new technologies, particularly in Asia. It will give the German drugmaker access to a pair of Insilico platforms: their generative AI software that discovers new drug candidates and their “Pandomics” platform that provides a host of biological data for any project. Financial terms were not disclosed.