Recursion Pharmaceuticals' $239M for AI drug discovery, optimize.health's $15.6M for remote patient monitoring and more digital health fundings

Also: Skin Analytics' Series A contributes to AI-based detection of potential skin cancer; China's LickDoc supports its healthcare big data repository with $102 million.
By Dave Muoio
02:14 pm
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Artificial intelligence drug discovery company Recursion Pharmaceuticals has announced an oversubscribed Series D funding round totaling $239 million. Headlining the raise is a strategic partnership with Bayer, which came with a $50 million investment from the Leaps by Bayer. Casdin Capital, Catalio Capital Management, Laurion Capital Management, Samsara BioCapital and all of the major institutional investors who had previously backed Recursion also participated.

The funds will help Recursion fuel the clinical development of its therapeutic pipeline, and support continued investment into the development of its technology, the company said. With this raise, the company has brought in roughly $465 million since its founding in 2013.

“We have made significant progress since our last financing a year ago – doubling the number of clinical and preclinical programs in our pipeline, doubling the size of our proprietary database of cellular images, and significantly expanding the capabilities of our deep-learning algorithms, as well as continuing to integrate new technologies at every step of the discovery process to create the first truly digitally-powered biotechnology company,” Chris Gibson, CEO and cofounder of Recursion, said in a statement.

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optimize.health, a remote patient-monitoring startup founded in 2015 under the name of Pillsy, has raised $15.6 million in an oversubscribed Series A financing round. U.S. Venture Partners led the round, which also saw support from Foundry Group, Daher Capital, Openview Venture Partners, Bonfire Ventures and SOSV.

The company launched with a focus on smart pill bottle caps, but recently pivoted to sell a remote patient-monitoring software platform that includes analysis tools for providers and engagement hooks for patients. The company notes that it has recently benefitted from more than 800% year-over-year growth, and is anticipating continued opportunity from new reimbursement and distribution channels such as CMS.

With the funds, optimize.health said it will be expanding its product and engineering teams, expands its sales and marketing operations, and tack new features and user experience improvements onto its platform.

"Challenging times can serve as a catalyst for innovation, and the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the vital role that digital health platforms can play to help patients stay healthy," Jeff LeBrun, cofounder and CEO of optimize.health, said in a statement. "In addition to patients, clinics and systems have seen their businesses upended over the past few months, requiring an additional layer of resiliency. This is an unprecedented opportunity to implement lasting change in the way healthcare is delivered, and we're delighted to have strong backing from investors that share our vision for a more accessible, more convenient and more cost-effective healthcare system."


Skin Analytics, a U.K. startup building an AI-based early detection tool for skin cancer, has raised £4 million ($5.2 million) in Series A funding, TechCrunch reports. Hoxton Ventures led the raise, which also saw participation from Nesta and Mustard Seed Ventures.

With the money in hand, the company said it's looking to strike new deals with the U.K.'s NHS. Following up on a Breakthrough Device Designation from the FDA, it also is looking to expand its business into the U.S.


Beijing-based LinkDoc Technology, a cloud-based platform offering a big data repository of medical data for clinical trial and clinical AI, has brought in 700 million yuan ($102 million) in Series D+ funding, Deal Street Asia reports. The company's support came from an undisclosed collection of prior backers, as well as newcomers such as CICC Capital, Youshan Capital and iFOF.

Working with Chinese hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and government healthcare organizations since 2014, the company said it plans to continue fleshing out its big data platform and the tools within it.


Albeit not an investment funding announcement, Google outlined in a blog post today recent contributions to academic and health organizations using AI or data analytics to counter COVID-19. Totaling over $8.5 million, the funds were doled out to names such as Carnegie Mellon University, Boston Children's Hospital, University College London, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, University of Luxembourg, RAD-AID, the Indian Institute of Science and Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia.

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