Hong Kong-based AI drug discovery company Insilico closes $60M Series D

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Insilico Medicine, a Hong Kong-based company that has been using artificial intelligence to discover new drugs since 2014, has completed a new funding round.

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This is a sign that some investors continue to bet on new biotechnologies that often takes longer prove profitability compared to other verticals – in one go venture capital is cooling down.

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Insilico has raised $60 million in new Series D funding from investors including its existing shareholders Warburg Pincus, B Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, BOLD Capital Partners, Pavilion Capital and new investors, an unnamed “large diversified West Coast asset management firm” . USA” and BHR Investment.

Alexey Zhavoronkov, founder and CEO of Insilico, also took part in the Series D round.

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The new financial injection is only a small part of what Insilico received from its Series C a year ago. $255 million mega round. Zhavoronkov explained to TechCrunch that the latest round “was very substantial and was intended to allow us to fund clinical development” and the company “tries to be very conservative and careful with money.”

“We still have a significant amount of money from the previous round and this round has expanded our runway and will allow us to continue to innovate and grow,” the founder added.

“Now the market is going through a “biotech winter” when many companies run out of money and die. This gives Insilico Medicine the opportunity to become the winner of the biotech spring.”

Insilico focused solely on drug development until 2019 when it began developing its own therapeutics in areas such as fibrosis, immunology, oncology and central nervous system. Since 2021, it has put forward eight preclinical candidates.

The firm plans to use its investment proceeds to conduct Phase I research, a stage of clinical trials that primarily test for safety, and further develop its drug development platform, which uses AI to identify new targets and molecules. The capital will also fund Insilico’s global expansion and “strategic initiatives” that include a “robotic drug discovery lab” and a “robotic biological data factory.”

The “prototype” lab will be located in Suzhou, a wealthy eastern Chinese city bordering Shanghai, with favorable government policies to attract biotech and autonomous driving startups. The lab, Zhavoronkov said, will be equipped with autonomous vehicles (AGVs), which are now commonplace in advanced logistics centers. He will also partner with imaging company X-Imaging to perform phenotyping, the process of determining the physical properties of an organism.

Insilico is headquartered in Hong Kong, which has become an attractive hub for biotech start-ups in recent years. In 2018 the city new rules introduced this removed some of the barriers for biotech startups to enter the Hong Kong Stock Exchange before generating revenue. Establishing a base in Hong Kong also allows companies to gain potential access to China’s huge biotechnology innovation market.

Insilico has its own Chinese partner, pharmaceutical giant Fosun Pharma. two signed partnership in January of this year to work on drug discovery and development under a profit-sharing scheme. As part of the deal, Insilico also received an equity investment from Fosun Pharma, which has funded more than 60 startups. IT Juzi starter database.

According to Zhavoronkov, the eight-year-old Insilico is in the R&D stage and is not yet profitable. It generates revenue through research and development collaborations, including upfront fees and milestones, and customer subscriptions to an AI-assisted drug discovery platform. The company has 200 employees in six countries and regions.

Credit: techcrunch.com /

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