Zephyr lands $111m to advance AI precision medicine platform

Startup aims to leverage AI to revolutionize precision medicine in oncology and cardiometabolic disease.

Healthtech company Zephyr AI has secured $111 million in Series A financing to advance its mission to democratize precision medicine with AI. The company is developing “fast and explainable” AI solutions aimed at bringing the winds of change to precision medicine in oncology and cardiometabolic disease.

Zephyr says it is building the “world’s most comprehensive healthcare dataset,” which it plans to integrate with cutting-edge AI algorithms to generate actionable insights for patients, providers, and researchers. The company aims to use its tech to address pressing challenges in healthcare, from identifying new cancer biomarkers to assisting in clinical trial design or deriving reimbursement rules for weight loss drugs.

“The US has the highest rate of avoidable cancer and cardiometabolic-related deaths among any high-income country. We must do better,” said Grant Verstandig, co-founder of Zephyr. “At Zephyr AI, we are harnessing the power of AI to extract novel insights to better define patient stratification and response predictions as well as improve federation of real-world data.”

Central to Zephyr’s approach are its advanced algorithms, which are designed not only to extract new biological signals but also to provide actionable insights based on real-world data. The company says this allows it to validate insights retrospectively and capitalize on regulatory guidelines promoting the use of real-world evidence in medical product development.

Dr Justin Stebbing, Chairman of Zephyr AI’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, says company’s technology stands out in two key areas.

“First, it has empirically demonstrated the ability to navigate the intricacies of real-world patient data, historically a challenge in the field,” he said. “Second, leveraging recent breakthroughs in representation learning, the technology elucidates the biological context underlying its predictions. This contextual understanding is pivotal in drug development decision-making, revealing patient selection insights unpredictable using today’s tools to maximize the value of both approved medicines and drugs in development.”

According to Zephyr, its platform leverages recent advances in “representation learning,” a machine learning approach that aids in target discovery and drug combination design, and features visualizations designed to harmonize human and artificial intelligence.

Investors in the round included Revolution Growth, Eli Lilly & Company, Jeff Skoll, and EPIQ Capital Group, among others. The new funding will be used by Zephyr to further enhance the analytical speed of its platform, fortify its training and validation datasets, and expand its scientific and commercial teams.

“The expansion of our diverse multimodal data resources will accelerate the advancement of Zephyr AI’s algorithms, paving the way for us to transform the landscape of precision medicine and improve outcomes for our partners and patients,” said Jeff Sherman, also a co-founder of Zephyr.