F-Prime backed startup nabs another $50M in bid to scale up AI R&D software
Almost two years after getting an infusion of cash from F-Prime and other big investors, Toronto biotech BenchSci is back with more money in its coffers — and plans for expansion.
The AI software startup, which last raised $22 million in a 2020 Series B, announced that it now has raised $50 million in a Series C this morning, led by previous investor Inovia Capital and new investor TCV. Inovia also led the startup’s original Series A raise. With the round now putting the company at $97 million raised, it gives the biotech more breathing room to expand.
BenchSci co-founder and CEO Liran Belenzon told Endpoints News the company will be looking to double its employees from 200 to 400 over the next 12 months.
BenchSci’s whole platform is a relatively simple concept: teaching AI how to read medical, clinical and research data the same way a scientist or someone with a PhD might read it, hoping it can come up with the same type of pattern recognition with a focus on experimentation. As Belenzon put it almost two years ago, a scientist can ask the platform a question with different specifications — say, a reagent or antibody for BRCA1 — and the platform can narrow thousands of options down to the two or three most likely to be successful.
That platform not only removes a trial and error aspect but also cuts down on wasted time and money, according to Belenzon.
And as part of BenchSci’s plans going forward, it’s now working on an AI platform to improve R&D workflow in tandem with a few other unnamed companies. Belenzon said the platform was being designed to help clients make better decisions at almost every step of the R&D process, from hypotheses to protocols to QA.