Atomwise raises $45m to become pharma’s preferred AI partner

Atomwise raises $45m to become pharma’s preferred AI partner
Courtesy of Atomwise

Atomwise has raised $45 million in Series A funding in its ongoing bid to become the preferred artificial intelligence (AI) partner for the global pharmaceutical industry.

Prior investors, including Y Combinator, Khosla Ventures, and DFJ participated in the Series A financing, and are joined by new investors Baidu Ventures and Dolby Family Ventures.

The oversubscribed round brings Atomwise’s total capital raised to more than $51 million.

“Atomwise was the first start-up to commercialise deep neural networks for drug discovery in 2012,” said Dr Abraham Heifets, Co-founder and CEO of Atomwise.

“It seemed to many like science fiction then, but now in 2018, Atomwise has the commercial traction with a host of customers to demonstrate our leadership in AI for drug discovery.”

The company said the funding marks the culmination of two years of unprecedented business growth. Atomwise has struck partnerships with four of the top-ten US pharma companies, multiple biotech firms and over forty major research universities.

“With our partners, Atomwise has brought the power of artificial intelligence to breakthrough research on deadly viruses, several forms of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic diseases, life-threatening bacteria, endemic parasites, and crop-blighting fungi in agriculture,” said Dr Izhar Wallach, Co-Founder and CTO of Atomwise.

“With this funding, Atomwise is ready to help hundreds of organizations discover compounds that could become tomorrow’s blockbusters.”

Like software used to design airplanes and computer chips in simulation, Atomwise can help make predictions about new potential medicines before they are made, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming physical synthesis and testing.

Its groundbreaking AtomNet drug research technology learns like a human chemist, using powerful deep learning algorithms and elastic supercompute platforms to analyze millions of potential medicines each day.

Atomwise has delivered promising research results since its seed funding in 2015. Dozens of its discovery programs have achieved success in the hands of its partners, contrasting with an industry that typically has extremely high rates of failure for comparable work.

Aside from a massive increase in discovery productivity, AtomNet also provides greater understanding of the toxicity, side effects, mechanism of action, and efficacy of a drug, far earlier than typical in a drug pipeline.

This ability provides Atomwise customers an exponential reduction in the cost and risk of drug discovery. In that context, Atomwise’s choice of strategic investors with deep industry ties is critical for achieving its vision of transforming the way medicines are discovered.