Source: Venture Beat
Atomwise, a startup using AI to accelerate drug discovery, today secured $123 million in funding. A spokesperson said the funds will enable the startup to scale its technology and team as it expands its portfolio of joint ventures with researchers at the University of Toronto, Duke University School of Medicine, Charles River, Bayer, Eli Lilly, Merck, and others.
Sanabil Investments and returning investor B Capital Group led the series B round, with participation from returning investors DCVC, BV, Tencent, Y Combinator, Dolby Ventures, and AME Cloud Ventures. This brings the company’s total raised to almost $175 million, following a $45 million round in March 2018.
San Francisco-based Atomwise — a graduate of Nvidia’s Inception accelerator — says it has had more than 1,000 inbound applications over the past 12 months from academic and commercial research teams interested in using AtomNet for drug discovery.
Through its Artificial Intelligence Molecular Screen (AIMS) initiative, Atomwise seeks proposals from academic researchers with interesting protein targets implicated in animal health, biotechnology, human biology, medicine, microbiology, plant biology, and virology. Awardees receive customized virtual screens through AtomNet and 72 small molecules predicted to bind to specific target proteins. In addition, they get support from Atomwise’s medicinal chemists and computational biologists and additional small molecules, dependent on the satisfaction of specific criteria.
Atomwise claims its over 285 partnerships have already produced 17 patent-pending applications and several peer-reviewed publications. The company estimates its corporate partner deals are worth $5.5 billion, and Atomwise recently announced 15 research collaborations with universities to explore broad-spectrum therapies for COVID-19, targeting 15 unique and novel mechanisms of action.