The artificial intelligence-enabled drug research and development startup XtalPi brought home nearly $319 million in its Series C funding round, announced Monday.
SoftBank Vision Fund 2, PICC Capital and Morningside co-led the investment round, while Tencent, Sequoia China, China Life and SIG also made contributions.
WHAT IT DOES
Founded in 2014 by a group of quantum physicists at MIT, XtalPi uses its AI Digital Drug Discovery and Development, or the ID4, platform to assist in pharmaceutical R&D.
The platform combines quantum physics, AI and cloud computing algorithms to assess how drugs react at a molecular level in order to help pharmaceuticals progress through clinical trials.
Ultimately, the company says it wants to build a system that generates more drug candidates with fewer experiments in less time.
"In the past few years, we have focused on developing and validating our platform's capabilities by working with some of the top innovative pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the world," said Dr. Shuhao Wen, chairman and cofounder at XtalPi, in a statement.
"As an advocate and trailblazer in AI drug discovery, our investors and we are heartened by several of our AI drug discovery collaborations that reached milestones in significantly shortened timeframes."
WHAT IT’S FOR
XtalPi plans to use this funding to help make the pharmaceutical R&D process more efficient by expanding its ID4 platform. The company says it will take a three-pronged approach focusing on algorithms, data and computing power to find areas in the research process that can be made smoother.
By building upon its existing platform, XtalPi says it will create a digital-twin drug R&D system that combines its drug predictions with real-world laboratory data to assist in the drug discovery process.
Integrating technology into the R&D process is becoming more of a common practice, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic turned many in-person clinical trials into virtual ones.
In past funding rounds, XtalPi has earned $15 million in a Series B round, followed by $46 million in a B-1 extension.
ON THE RECORD
"We believe AI holds the answer to solving pharma's productivity challenge,” Wen said in a statement. “More specifically, XtalPi's AI-powered platform can improve the industry's research efficiency and success rate in order to lower costs for discovering and developing new drugs.
"We look forward to applying our platform to help clients bring more first-in-class and breakthrough drugs to the market and address significant unmet medical needs to benefit patients on a global scale."