AI-drug discovery venture Atomwise, working on deciphering human disease via the largest AI-drug discovery portfolio, closed a $123 million, oversubscribed Series B financing led by B Capital Group and Sanabil Investments. Returning investors such as DCVC, BV, Tencent, Y Combinator, Dolby Family Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, and new backing from two global insurance companies bring the total raised for this startup to a staggering $175 million. The San Francisco-based late-stage startup will progress into the next stage of value creation, directly discovering and developing drugs either as part of a commercial joint venture or even for itself in what could lead to exponential valuations.
With a new board member, Raj Ganguly of B Capital Group, and a new board observer, Hani Enaya of Sanabil, Atomwise is on the rise. TrialSite offers a brief breakdown of this venture, founded in 2012.
What does Atomwise do?
The company purports to have patented the first deep learning technology for structure-based small molecule drug discovery. They report that their AI technology can harness millions of data points and thousands of protein structures to solve complex problems that a human chemist would take many lifetimes to solve.
How does Atomwise purport to open up the AI drug discovery & development market?
As it turns out, biopharma and research institutes can’t just flip a switch and be AI-enabled. Rather, the market struggles to access AI-based drug discovery technology, primarily due to the overall cost and lack of expertise, which requires computational scientists, drug discovery experts, software, and systems engineers for both AI and machine learning. Atomwise helps solve this challenge by offering a more turnkey AI enablement and fulfillment. The evidence for their success lies in the fact that over 750 research collaborations addressing over 600 disease targets have consumed the Atomwise AI solution.
What has the company been up to?
The CEO and co-founder, Abraham Heifets, reports in their recent press release that they lead the world in terms of new AI ventures, leveraging their AtomNet product to identify “small molecule hits for more undruggable targets than any other AI drug discovery platform.”
Where does the company want to go?
The company is pursuing ambitious aspirations to support biopharma companies in their bid to identify new drugs. Now, as communicated in their press release, the late-state venture will capitalize on their ongoing momentum and new capital to develop their “own pipeline of small molecule drug program, further grow…their portfolio of joint-venture investments and realize their mission to develop superior medicines to improve the quality of life of patients around the world.”
Who are their Customers?
Atomwise partners with some of the world’s biggest pharma companies and agrochemical firms, and engages with over 50 major academic institutions and health providers to augment the effort to accelerate the discovery and development of drugs and chemicals.
What are the use of funds?
The company will use this latest investment to scale its AI technology platform and team. This effort includes business development partnerships in the form of corporate partners, which currently include major pharma such as Eli Lilly and Company, Bayer, Hansoh Pharmaceuticals, Bridge Biotherapeutics, and emerging biotech such as StemoniX and SEngine Precision Medicine.
What are some of the company’s joint ventures?
The company has developed and will continue to do so, joint ventures with leading researchers using AtomNet for drug discovery, such as the ones launched with X-37, Atropos Therapeutics, Theia Biosciences, and Valrus to commercialize high potential candidates through the drug development process.
How much business has Atomwise closed thus far?
The total revenue in the recent press release caught the attention of TrialSite: the company claims they have secured over $5.5 billion in total deal value with corporate partners to date. This figure would appear to be much more than just representing booked revenues plus backlog.
What advancements have arisen from the academic collaborations?
Through these academic collaborations, Atomwise has enriched its AtomNet® technology with experimental data and conducted the largest screening of molecules in human history — today at over 16 billion molecules for virtual screening. From the continued use of AtomNet® among research teams, Atomwise has gained a valuable breadth of experimental data, including the largest diversity of drug target sites, homology models, protein classes, and disease areas of any AI platform. The company’s technology is covered by 19 issued patents, and research partnerships have generated 17 pending patent applications and several peer-reviewed publications. Atomwise has 285 active drug discovery partnerships with researchers at top universities worldwide and recently announced 15 research collaborations with global universities to explore broad-spectrum therapies for COVID-19, targeting 15 unique and novel mechanisms of action.
“New technologies are enabling better and faster R&D for the life science industry,” said Raj Ganguly, co-Founder and Managing Partner at B Capital Group. “The advancements Atomwise has made with its computational drug discovery platform have effectively cut months or even years off of the R&D lifecycle. More importantly, however, they are solving biology problems previously believed to be unsolvable by researchers and delivering that capability to everyone from academics to big pharma. We’re excited to continue to partner with the Atomwise team on its mission to develop new, more effective therapies.”
What’s the market upside for Atomwise?
The company’s AI technology has been used by academic researchers at institutes around the world and drug developers—including the top 100 pharmaceutical and emerging biotech companies, a rapidly growing market estimated to reach $729 billion in global market value by 2025.