California-based AI drug discovery startup Genesis announced it scored a whopping $200 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round, bringing its total raise to $280 million.
The company also announced that approximately $24 million of SAFE notes from a prior funding round were converted amid the closing of the Series B round.
Andreessen Horowitz and a “U.S.-based life sciences-focused investor” co-led the round with participation from new investors BlackRock, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and NVentures.
Existing investors Rock Springs Capital, T. Rowe Price Associates, Menlo Ventures and Radical Ventures also joined the round.
WHAT IT DOES
Genesis devised a molecular AI platform dubbed Genesis Exploration of Molecular Space (GEMS) that merges deep learning and molecular simulations to create high-potency small-molecule drugs.
The funds will be used to move the company into clinical development. Genesis will also invest in developing novel generative and predictive AI methods and expand its portfolio by leveraging GEMS to explore targets that were previously difficult to drug.
“AI presents a potent opportunity to revolutionize 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,” Evan Feinberg, CEO of Genesis, said in a statement.
“This funding comes as Genesis is approaching an inflection point with the first of our AI-enabled drug candidates entering the clinic. The addition of our new lead investor, and other meaningful additions to our biotech and AI-oriented syndicate, will support Genesis in developing breakthrough therapies for patients with severe unmet medical needs and their families, capitalizing on the broad applicability and potential of the GEMS AI platform.”
The company also announced a partnership with Genentech, a subsidiary of the pharma giant Roche, in 2020, which would leverage Genesis’ graph machine learning and drug discovery platform to identify drug candidates for therapeutic targets in various disease areas.
Last year, Genesis and pharmaceutical company Lily, formerly Eli Lily, announced a strategic collaboration to discover therapies using Genesis’ machine learning models.
Genesis received an upfront payment of $20 million for three initial therapeutic targets with an option to receive additional compensation upon the nomination of more targets. Per the agreement, the AI biotech company was eligible to receive up to $670 million total in milestone payments and royalties on net sales.