On Tuesday, Insilico Medicine, an A.I-based platform for drug discovery and development, has announced that they have raised $255 million in Series C financing.
Recent breakthroughs by the company have proved that its AI-based platform can create a new target for disease, develop molecules to address it, and begin the clinical trial process. The massive round is another indicator that AI and drug discovery continue to attract investors.
Founded in 2014, the Hong Kong-based company is centered around one premise that is AI-assisted systems that can identify the new drugs for untreated diseases, assisted in the development, and eventually predict the performance of the treatments in clinical trials.
Even though the company aims to leverage AI for drug development isn’t a new concept, but data suggests that the company might accomplish that gauntlet of discovery. For instance, in 2020, the company successfully identified a drug target for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
The A.I-based platforms first identify the targets then designs a small molecule treatment that shows promising results in animal studies. They are currently filing an investigational new drug application with the FDA. They aim to begin human dosing this year, and clinical trial by next year.
Their focus is on the process as the process of preclinical drug development typically takes multiple years.
Alex Zhavoronkov, the founder of Insilico Medicine, doesn’t think that strengths lie in accelerating preclinical drug development but in eliminating guesswork in drug discovery.
“Currently we have 16 therapeutic assets, not just IPF,” he says. “It raised some eyebrows. It’s about the probability of success. So, the probability of success of connecting the right target to the right disease with a great molecule is very, very low. The fact that we managed to do it in IPF and other diseases I can’t talk about yet – increases confidence in AI in general.”
In this most recent round, Insilico Medicine has attracted a lot of investors partially by the enthusiasm around AI-based drug development and proof-of-concept developed by the IPF project.
The round was led by Warburg Pincus, and also includes investment from Pavilion Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, Lilly Asia Ventures, Eight Roads Ventures, BOLD Capital Partners, Sinovation Ventures, Formic Ventures, and Baidu Ventures.
New investors include CPE, Mirae Asset Capital, OrbiMed, B Capital Group, Maison Capital, Deerfield Management, President International Development Corporation, Lake Bleu Capital, Sequoia Capital China, and Sage Partners.