Formation Bio has secured $372m in a Series D financing round to bolster its drug pipeline and expedite the expansion of its AI-driven drug development platform.

Spearheaded by venture capital firm a16z, the investment round also saw participation from Sanofi.

Existing investors Sequoia, the Emerson Collective, Thrive and Lachy Groom also took part.

New investors, including SV Angel Growth and FPV Ventures, joined the round, which represents a substantial increase from the company’s Series C valuation.

a16z managing partner Scott Kupor and Sequoia partner Alfred Lin will join the board of directors of Formation Bio.

Established in 2016 as TrialSpark, Formation Bio uses technology and AI to streamline drug development.

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Its technology platforms and processes aim to expedite all aspects of drug development and clinical trials.

Formation Bio works by partnering with, acquiring or in-licensing drugs from biotech and pharma companies, advancing these programmes beyond clinical proof of concept.

The newly acquired funds are earmarked for two key objectives: the procurement and in-licensing of candidate drugs and the enhancement of their AI capabilities.

Formation Bio’s operational model, powered by technology, has already demonstrated the capability to conduct clinical trials more rapidly than traditional industry benchmarks.

The company has partnered with OpenAI and Sanofi to design and develop AI solutions for drug development.

Kupor stated: “We are thrilled to partner with the Formation Bio team on their journey to build an AI-enabled pharma company.

“Pharma represents one of the biggest industries in the world, and there is immense potential to make the drug development process more efficient. We’ve been impressed by the team and culture that the co-founders, Ben and Linhao, have built, one that brings together the best of pharma, tech and AI to ultimately make an enduring impact for patients.”