LabGenius, a London-based drug discovery start-up, has secured £11m in funding to develop AI and robotic automation tools for discovering protein therapeutics.
The company is currently building a systematic, machine learning-driven platform designed to make the discovery of protein therapeutics faster and yield novel drugs that would not have been found using conventional methods.
According to LabGenius, the platform combines closed-loop, robotic automation, synthetic biology and machine-learning that enables the team to systematically search through billions of potential protein designs and rapidly test those that are predicted to be high-performing.
Protein therapeutics has been used to treat both life-threatening conditions such as cancer and chronic diseases such as diabetes. Though it represents 30% of total pharmaceutical sales, the cost and timeframe of development are said to limit the ability to bring new treatments to market.
LabGenius said its platform will cut the time, cost and risk associated with developing new drugs.
The investment round was led by European venture capital firm Atomico, which, alongside partner Irina Haivas, will join the start-up’s board. The funding brings the company’s total series A funding to £19m, which will be used to accelerate development of its underlying technology platform and product pipeline.
Irina Haivas, partner at Atomico, said: “The human and economic toll of Covid-19 makes it painfully obvious that we need a faster and better way to develop drugs. R&D in the industry reached a productivity bottleneck many years ago; the only way forward is through technology.
“LabGenius is taking on the task of applying software and engineering to biology and doing this in an area of high complexity: proteins. We believe they have the best technical approach and have been impressed by the team’s ability to execute and attract incredible talent.”