UK-based pharmaceutical company BenevolentAI has raised $115m to support its efforts to use artificial intelligence (AI) to develop drugs for hard-to-treat diseases.
The funding round involved contribution from both new and existing investors, including Woodford Investment Management.
BenevolentAI plans to use the grants to increase the size of its drug development operations, and expand disease areas and AI platform capabilities.
In addition, the company wants to expand into other science-based sectors such as advanced materials and energy storage.
BenevolentAI founder and chairman Ken Mulvany said: “We are very pleased with the response to the fundraising. It reflects the rapidly growing global interest in the AI pharmaceutical sector and the recognition of our place as the dominant player within it.
“We are pioneering this sector and have evolved into a fully integrated, AI-enabled drug development company with the ability to deliver better medicines at previously unimaginable speeds. This ultimately means patients will receive the right medicines, at a lower cost, in less time.”
Designed to discover new drugs, the BenevolentAI technology employs algorithms to analyse more than 50 billion ingested and contextualised facts to understand the cause of a disease.
According to the company, its technology can connect disease signatures within patients, enabling the determination of the best drug candidate for a particular patient.
The technology further possesses the capability to quickly generate drug candidates at scale, in turn reducing costs and failure rates compared to manual processes.
The technology has demonstrated the ability to decrease the duration of early stage drug discovery by four years, potentially delivering efficiencies in the entire drug development process of 60% against pharmaceutical industry averages.
BenevolentAI is currently focusing on the development of therapeutics for motor neuron and Parkinson’s diseases, glioblastoma, and sarcopenia.