Investment arm of world’s most valuable company leads new $35 million investment in AI drug discovery firm.
Longevity AI drug discovery company Insilico Medicine has completed a $35 million Series D2 round, bringing the total raised in its Series D financing to $95 million. The new round was led by Prosperity7 Ventures, the diversified growth fund of Aramco Ventures, a subsidiary of Aramco, the world’s leading integrated energy and chemicals company.
Longevity.Technology: We brought you the news of Insilico’s initial $60 million Series D raise in June, and this latest funding injection is further evidence of the huge investor interest now being shown in the longevity sector. The new capital will support the continued advancement of Insilico’s pipeline, including its lead program which is currently in a Phase 1 study in New Zealand and in China, as well as several pipeline programs in the IND-enabling stage, and much more besides.
Prosperity7 joins current investors in the Series D round, including a large, diversified asset management firm on the US West Coast, BHR Partners, Warburg Pincus, B Capital Group, Qiming Venture Partners, Deerfield, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, BOLD Capital Partners and Pavilion Capital.
“The deepening application of AI and machine learning for drug discovery has demonstrated a transformative positive impact on the pharmaceutics industry and we are delighted to embark on this partnership with Insilico Medicine, a forerunner leading this innovation,” said Aysar Tayeb, Executive Managing Director of Prosperity7 Ventures. “Backed by patient capital and the breadth of Aramco’s ecosystem across geographies and sectors, we look to support the company to scale up and expand its footprint globally, to drive biotechnology excellence and bring positive impact for greater wellbeing.”
AI drug discovery lab coming soon
Beyond advancing its pipeline, the funding will also fund other strategic initiatives for Insilico, including further development of its end-to-end Pharma.AI platform; the launch of a fully automated, AI-driven robotic drug discovery laboratory and biological data factory; and the establishment of regional centers.
The funds will also enable Insilico to further expand its AI capabilities beyond drug R&D into other areas where the platform provides promise, including sustainable chemistry, green energy and agriculture.
“In 2022 Aramco became the world’s most valuable company, and we are deeply honoured to receive the investment from their venture capital arm, Prosperity7 which focuses on investment in disruptive technology,” said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine. “Our experience in expanding our reach into sustainable agriculture where we collaborate with Syngenta and other fields demonstrated that the diversity of data and methods and unprecedented scale up allows us to improve our performance in drug discovery.”
Insilico pipeline update
Seven programs in Insilico’s internal pipeline have progressed to the IND-enabling stage, including a novel 3CL protease inhibitor for COVID-19 treatment, and two synthetic lethality programs targeting MAT2A and USP1 for oncology. It also successfully completed a Phase 0 microdose study and entered a Phase I clinical trial with its first internally developed program targeting fibrosis, with a Phase I clinical trial approved for initiation in China.
Insilico recently promoted Insilico CSO Dr Feng Ren to the position of co-CEO to drive the company’s drug R&D platform.
“We have the structure in place as an equal parts AI and drug development company,” said Feng Ren, PhD, co-CEO and CSO of Insilico Medicine. “And a number of exciting developments in motion – including an expanded global presence, a robotics lab in development, and significant progress on our internal pipeline programs. With this latest funding round, we will be able to scale up our capabilities even further, advancing our internal programs, developing our AI, and aligning with partners in the Saudi region to develop new regional technology hubs.”
Insilico says it has co-development and software licensing deals with a number of major pharmaceutical companies. Since the launch of its PandaOmics and Chemistry42 platforms in late 2020, Insilico claims that nine out of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies have used its AI platforms.