The growth in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology integration is increasing rapidly in various sectors. A lot of startups across the world are creating new approaches and seeking innovative business models in a bid to disrupt the pharmaceutical industry.
As per a report, the global artificial intelligence (AI) in the drug discovery market is expected to grow from $1.60B (approx €1.3B) in 2019 to $40.36B (approx €34.55B) by 2027, at a CAGR of 49.6% during the forecast period 2020-2027.
Many pharmaceutical and biotech companies are using AI technology integration to focus on drug development in order to discover the drugs for the most complex diseases such as Alzheimer’s and pancreatic cancer. AI helps these companies to streamline their R&D activities for personalised medicines and complex drug discovery.
In a recent development, a London-based biotech company that uses machine learning to develop new therapeutics, LabGenius, has raised an additional $15M (approx €12.8M) in its Series A round of funding. The round was led by Atomico, and partner Irina Haivas will join the startup’s board.
Other investors include those that participated in the first close of the round last year, Lux Capital, Obvious Ventures, Kindred Capital, and Inovia Capital.
The additional capital brings the company’s total Series A funding to $25M (approx €21.4M). The funds raised will be used to accelerate the growth of LabGenius’s underlying technology platform and its product.
Founded in 2012 by Dr. James Field, LabGenius is a drug discovery company that uses artificial intelligence (AI), robotic automation, and synthetic biology to discover novel protein therapeutics.
The company has developed EVA – a robot scientist capable of designing, conducting, and learning from its own experiments. Importantly, the learning aspect means that EVA gets continuously smarter as it unpicks the genetic design rules that underpin life.
The LabGenius team includes experts in protein engineering, synthetic biology, software engineering, data science, and robotic automation.
Protein therapeutic through technology
According to LabGenius, protein therapeutics represent 30% of total pharmaceutical sales. Since the first protein therapeutic was approved almost 40 years ago, this class of molecules has been used to treat both cancer and chronic diseases like diabetes. However, high costs, risks, and long timeframes associated with their development have limited the ability to bring new treatments to the market.
Currently, the company claims that getting just one new protein therapeutics to the market costs the industry over a billion pounds and can take more than a decade.
Therefore, LabGenius is building a systematic, machine learning-driven platform that, it claims, will make the discovery of protein therapeutics faster and yield novel drugs that would not have been found using traditional methods. The company claims its technology will help slash the time, cost, and risk associated with developing new drugs.
Irina Haivas, Partner at Atomico says, “The human and economic toll of COVID-19 makes it painfully obvious that we need a faster and better way to develop drugs. R&D in the industry reached a productivity bottleneck many years ago; the only way forward is through technology. LabGenius is taking on the task of applying software and engineering to biology, and doing this in an area of high complexity: proteins.”
Image credit: LabGenius