AI-based drug discovery startup raises $10M
A bio-pharmaceutical startup, twoXAR raised $10 million in Series A funding led by a major venture capital firm, SoftBank Ventures. The AI-driven method has greatly sped up the process of drug discovery.
A number of startups are bringing technological innovations to the medical field for enhanced patient experience. A new biopharmaceutical startup twoXAR, which uses AI (artificial intelligence) for drug discovery, has just landed $10 million in Series A funding. Major investors include SoftBank Ventures and seed investor Andreessen Horowitz. The startup’s approach is to use software to discover new drugs and speed up clinical trials of existing ones.
This exciting new technology has already proven help to cut down on waiting times for in vivo studies in patients with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, liver cancer and type 2 diabetes.
In vivo studies, as opposed to in vitro or test tube studies, are carried out in animal or human subjects. The drug candidates identified by twoXAR’s platform have shown better in vivo success rates for use against these conditions. The startup hopes to find new treatments that can be put to use in animal and then human studies without using a traditional lab.
Fast track drug discovery with AI
In the past, the process of drug discovery was fraught with uncertainty. Scientists would either look into traditional remedies and search for active ingredients to develop new drugs. Or else they would accidentally discover a drug.
More recently, scientists have tried to understand how infection and diseases are controlled at the physiological and molecular levels.
They use this knowledge and modern computational power to simulate molecular action, predict toxicity and discover effective new drugs for development.
The traditional process of drug discovery can take as many as ten to fifteen years. Scientists filter through 10,000 molecules before one is approved by the US FDA. Meanwhile, patients wait indefinitely for a drug candidate to be discovered, tested and approved. Millions of dollars are spent over several years with traditional methods, while AI has sped the process up to durations of a few weeks.
AI-assisted drug discovery no longer a speculation
twoXAR is not the only startup to use AI for drug discovery. In recent years, various stages of the drug discovery process have been utilizing AI technology platforms offered by startups. BioSymetrics and Biorelate, for instance, help labs to aggregate and synthesize data. FDNA and Phenomic AI help to understand the mechanisms of diseases. Biovista and BioXcel help researchers find applications for existing clinically validated candidates and approved drugs. Atomwise and BenevolentAI predict drug candidates for trials and are more immediate competitors for TwoXAR.
TwoXAR uses AI to screen through hundreds and thousands of compound libraries to find compounds that are effective against a disease.
It scans scan through a public library to identify drug candidates and predict risks so that preclinical trials have higher rates of success than traditional methods.
Drug discovery with such technology is expected to be faster and cheaper. Co-founder and CEO Andrew A. Radin says, “We are pleased to be aligned with our investors, who bring operational and business development expertise to twoXAR as we continue to build our pipeline of drug programs.”
According to twoXAR business advisory board member Judy Lewent, “twoXAR’s approach to developing their pipeline through partnerships and spinouts” allows the startup to apply their AI across various therapeutic areas.
Expert drug developers will have faster access to drug candidates and a build a portfolio of drug programs will be constructed that will increase chances of patients finding successful treatment options.
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