Sillicon Valley tech startup Atomwise scores $123 million for its AI drug discovery platform
Researchers and companies struggle with access to AI-based drug discovery technology, due to overall cost and lack of expertise — something which requires computational scientists, drug discovery experts, software and systems engineers for AI and ML. Enter Atomwise, a San Francisco-based AI tech startup that is developing artificial intelligence systems using powerful deep learning algorithms and supercomputers for drug discovery.
Currently, Atomwise has provided AI technology to over 750 research collaborations addressing over 600 disease targets, and worked with top-pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners, to design new drugs for “undruggable” targets with speed and scale. We covered Atomwise back in March 2018 when the San Francisco-based AI tech startup raised $45 million for its AI-powered drug discovery platform.
Today, Atomwise announced it has raked in another $123 million Series B funding to focus on creating drugs for the vast number of genetic diseases that don’t have one yet. The oversubscribed round, which brings the total amount of capital raised to date to almost $175 million, was led by B Capital Group and Sanabil Investments.
The round also includes returning investors DCVC, BV, Tencent, Y Combinator, Dolby Family Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, as well as new backing from two top ten global insurance companies. In conjuction with the funding, Atomwise also announced it has appointed Raj Ganguly of B Capital Group as a new board member and Hani Enaya of Sanabil as a board observer.
Atomwise also made the news in March 2017 after it identified medications that could reduce spread of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In medicine, identifying the right treatments for diseases normally takes years, it but took Atomwise only four months.
Founded in 2012 by Abraham Heifets, Alexander Levy, and Dr. Izhar Wallach, Atomwise invented the first deep learning AI technology for structure-based small molecule drug discovery. Today, Atomwise performs hundreds of projects per year in partnership with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies, as well as more than 200 universities and hospitals in 40 countries.
AtomNet, its AI platform built for drug discovery contains more than 16 billion molecules for virtual screening. Atomwise has raised over $174 million from leading venture capital firms to support the development and application of its AI technology.
“Over the past three years, our platform AtomNet® has tackled — and succeeded — in finding small molecule hits for more undruggable targets than any other AI drug discovery platform,” said Abraham Heifets, CEO and co-founder of Atomwise. “With support from our new and existing investment partners, we will be able to leverage this to develop our own pipeline of small molecule drug programs, further grow our portfolio of joint-venture investments, and realize our vision to create better medicines that can improve the lives of billions of people.”
With the new investment, Atomwise will continue to scale its AI technology platform and team. The company plans to expand its work with corporate partners, which currently include major players in the biopharma space such as Eli Lilly and Company, Bayer, Hansoh Pharmaceuticals, and Bridge Biotherapeutics, as well as emerging biotechnology companies like StemoniX and SEngine Precision Medicine. Atomwise has signed more than $5.5 billion in total deal value with corporate partners to date.
The company will also leverage the financing to build its own internal pipeline tackling historically undruggable and other challenging disease targets. Atomwise will continue to grow its portfolio of joint ventures with leading researchers using AtomNet® for drug discovery, like those it has launched with X-37, Atropos Therapeutics, Theia Biosciences and vAIrus, with a goal to commercialize high potential candidates through the drug development process.
Atomwise created the first convolutional neural networks (CNN) for drug discovery, and since its founding in 2012 has continually developed and improved its AI-based drug discovery technology. The company’s AI technology has been used by academic researchers at institutes around the world and drug developers — including top-100 pharmaceutical and emerging biotechnology companies, a rapidly growing market estimated to reach $729B in global market value by 2025.