The Boston-based startup rounds $30M in funding as it promises to bring AI-based small-molecule drug discovery to the world. Anagenex has the ultimate goal of developing life-saving drugs for previously undruggable targets. It combines large-scale lab experiments and an AI-based iterative process that follows an approach similar to what DeepMind used to train Alpha-Go.
The company hooked the investment in a Series A funding round led by Catalio Capital Management, with a previous seed round of $7.2M. In a release, George Petrocheilos, a general partner at Catalio, said, “We see a lot of platform technologies, but were blown away by Anagenex’s potential to fundamentally reshape how small molecules drugs are discovered.”
Drug discovery necessitates infinite patience and budget. Anagenex claims it can do AI-based iterations cost-efficiently and rapidly synthesize millions of compounds in its specially designed biochemistry lab. The lab has been made from the ground up to test the compounds 10x faster and cheaper than other competitors in the industry. Their lab has the facilities for testing more than two billion drug-like prototypes.
Nicholas Tilmans, Anagenex’s CEO, explained that their AI is designed to answer questions like any other AI/ML, but the questions they cater to are much more complex. Anagenex has a better way of testing initially synthesized compounds. It then feeds the results into its AI engine to train it.
Besides synthesizing the drug prototypes, Anagenex incorporates technologies like DNA Encoded Libraries and Affinity Selected Mass Spectrometry to test them simultaneously. This is why Anagenex’s efficiency and power make it tolerable for the uncertainty of drug discovery.