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Thursday, Jul 25, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

AI and Autonomy

Formation Bio raises over half a billion to advance AI-driven drug development

The company partnered with OpenAI and Sanofi last month for collaborative software customization

Formation Bio raises over half a billion to advance AI-driven drug development platform
Formation Bio was known as TrialSpark in the initial years after it was founded in 2016. Photo credit: Formation Bio (2019 photo)

New York’s Formation Bio, a tech company focused on AI-powered drug development, just raised over C$508 million to fund its expensive research and clinical trials.

The Series D funding round, completed earlier this week, was led by California’s venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (AH). Others that participated in pooling capital from investors included the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi SA (EPA: SAN), Sequoia Capital and FPV Ventures.

Partners from AH and Sequoia will be joining Formation’s Board of Directors. The fundraising follows a partnership initiated last month between Formation, Sanofi and the major tech influence OpenAI. They will be combining their expertise to help get new medicines into the market.

“This partnership is the first of its kind in the life sciences space,” AH said in a statement, “moving beyond personalizing off-the-shelf AI tools to designing, building and training fit-for-purpose customized AI models for the drug development lifecycle.”

Formation, previously TrialSpark, was founded in 2016 by Benjamine Liu and Linhao Zhang. Liu has a background in biology and neuroscience while Zhang is knowledgable about software development.

Read more: Verses announces Genius public beta preview and webinar June 20

Read more: Verses AI onboards chief product officer in push for AI product Genius

Other AI startups pioneer drug development

EvolutionaryScale, for instance, emerged from the darkness this month with a C$194 million seed funding round. Two major tech companies, Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA) and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN), were significant contributors.

Others using AI tech for drug development include Xaira Therapeutics, Kapoose Creek Bio, the United Kingdom’s Causaly, Enveda Biosciences and California’s Profluent.

Verses AI Inc. (CBOE: VERS) (OTCQB: VRSSF) is another new kid on the AI block that has been raising significant funding for its work. The nature-focused AI tech developer just secured a C$13.7 million investment and a C$10 million private placement. Verses has established partnerships with the European Commission, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and others.

The research firm Markets and Markets has estimated that the AI drug discovery industry will skyrocket in the years to come. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 40 per cent, increasing in value by about C$5.5 billion in the next four years.

Furthermore, A report released this week by the market researcher SkyQuest predicted that the global AI market would be worth over three times its current value by 2031. It is expected to be worth about C$1.4 trillion by that time.


Verses AI is a sponsor of Mugglehead news coverage 


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