XtalPi, a US-China biotech company focused on AI-powered drug discovery, has raised $ 319 million in Round C from a group of enthusiastic investors led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. It joins numerous others with 9-digit rounds in one clearly valuable and competitive space.
XtalPi works with large pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer who need to identify promising new drug-like molecules and learn as much as possible about them. It’s a race, so companies that claim to use AI to speed the process have been given huge funding. While there haven’t been any significant breakthroughs to speak of, it’s hard to imagine a great gamer could afford to ignore them.
Founded in 201
While these advances are in the digital realm, companies still need large numbers of skilled scientists who can review and drive the results – as well as the institutions that support them. It may help speed up the slow drug industry, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap or easy to do.
AI-powered biotech companies (which actually means machine learning) have attracted large rounds of funding and lucrative (or potentially lucrative) partnerships as the biggest drug companies place their bets. (Insitro founder Daphne Koller spoke to Disrupt on this subject two weeks ago.)
XtalPi plans to use the money as expected: scaling the existing operations with improved algorithms, more data and additional computing power.
“We believe AI is the answer to solving the pharmaceutical productivity challenge,” said chairman and co-founder Shuhao Wen in a press release. “In particular, XtalPi’s AI-powered platform can improve the industry’s research efficiency and success rate to lower the cost of new drug discovery and development. We look forward to using our platform to help customers bring more world-class and breakthrough drugs to market and meet significant unmet medical needs that benefit patients on a global basis. “
Softbank led the round, with PICC Capital and Morningside making up the largest remaining portion, as well as successors to existing investors Tencent, Sequoia China, China Life and SIG.