Atomwise revealed that it had raised $45 million in a series A round of funding that was led by B Capital Group, DCVC, and Monsanto Growth Ventures. The company conducted the exercise in a bid to support its goal of becoming the ideal artificial intelligence partner for the foremost biotech, pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies in the world. The Series A round of funding included prior investors like Y Combinator, DFJ and Khosla Ventures as well as new investors such as Dolby Family Ventures, Baidu Ventures, and Tencent. It propelled Atomwise’s aggregate capital raised to over $51 million.
The CEO and co-founder of Atomwise, Dr. Abraham Heifets said that Atomwise’s initial undertaking in 2012 made it the first startup to make deep neural networks commercial for drug discovery purposes. Although the company’s move was likened to science fiction back then, in 2018, Atomwise boasts of commercial traction coupled with some customers to prove its dominance in artificial intelligence for drug discovery.
The recent Series A funding by Atomwise represents the end of two years of unparalleled business growth. In fact, the company has collaborated with four out of the ten leading US pharmaceutical companies in the US, more than forty top research universities and multiple biotech firms. Even so, Atomwise has more than fifty different molecular discovery programs.
According to Dr. Izhar Wallach, the CTO and co-founder of Atomwise, Atomwise ’s artificial intelligence is behind breakthrough research on several forms of cancer, deadly viruses, metabolic diseases, endemic parasites, life-threatening bacteria and neurodegenerative diseases. He added that the latest funding would enable the company to assist hundreds of organizations in identifying compounds that could become blockbusters in the future.
Similar to the software utilized in designing computer chips and airplanes in simulation, Atomwise can aid in making predictions regarding new potential drugs before they are even made. This undertaking helps to minimize the need for time-consuming and costly physical testing and synthesis.
Since its seed financing in 2015, Atomwise has provided considerable research results. What’s more, dozens of the company’s discovery programs have attained unprecedented success under its partners. Atomwise’s drug research technology, AtomNet, has dramatically outdone status quo technologies, especially by recognizing active hit compounds at a maximum rate of 10,000X. According to Dr. Kiersten Stead, one of the partners at Monsanto Growth Ventures, Monsanto invested in Atomwise based on the outstanding results it experienced first-hand by working with the company.
Apart from its considerable increase in discovery productivity, AtomNet also offers a better understanding of side effects, toxicity, the efficacy of a drug, and mechanism of action, earlier than what is expected in a drug pipeline. This capability gives Atomwise customers a significant reduction in the risk and cost of drug discovery. For this reason, Atomwise’s preference of strategic investors who have deep industry connections is vital for attaining its vision of changing the way drugs are discovered.
Abraham Heifets culminated by welcoming B Capital Group and Monsanto Growth Ventures as well as thanking long-time investors like DCVC. He also said that Atomwise looks forward to working with its new board members including Gavin Teo, Matt Ocko, and Kiersten Stead.