A16z co-leads $200m round into AI-powered drug discovery firm

22 Aug 2023

Image: © Prasanth/Stock.adobe.com

Genesis Therapeutics has developed its own AI platform to find drug candidates for challenging, data-poor medical diseases.

Andreseen Horiwitz (A16z) has co-led a $200m funding round into Genesis Therapeutics, which uses AI to find new drugs for medical diseases.

The funding was also co-led by US-based life-sciences-focused investors. Other investors included Fidelity Management and Research Company, BlackRock and Nvidia’s venture capital arm NVentures. Existing investors that participated were T Rowe Price, Rock Springs Capital, Radical Ventures and Menlo Ventures.

The funding will be used to advance Genesis’ current pipeline of AI-enabled programs. The US company claims to be using AI and biotechnology to discover novel and breakthrough treatments for patients with severe and devastating conditions.

Genesis has developed an predictive AI platform called GEMS (Genesis Exploration of Molecular Space), to accelerate small molecule drug discovery. The company said this platform integrates deep learning-based predictive models, molecular simulations and chemically aware language models.

The company claims this platform is able to identify drug candidates for challenging, data-poor targets, in order to make progress towards breakthrough treatments to help significant and underserved diseases.

“AI presents a potent opportunity to revolutionise the drug discovery process, which frequently struggles to produce viable drug candidates against targets that are biologically well-validated but considered undruggable due to highly challenging chemistry,” said Genesis CEO Dr Evan Feinberg. “This funding comes as Genesis is approaching an inflection point with the first of our AI-enabled drug candidates entering the clinic.”

The new funding brings the total amount raised by Genesis to date to $280m, including a previous $4m seed round that was funded by A16z.

Earlier this year Irish biopharmaceutical company Poolbeg Pharma said it had made a “breakthrough” with an AI-aided discovery of novel drug targets to treat the flu.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic