British artificial intelligence firm BenevolentAI has raised $115 million in new funding, which will be used to expand the platform’s capabilities in finding new drug treatments.
Company founder and chairman Ken Mulvany argued the fundraising response “reflects the rapidly growing global interest in the AI pharmaceutical sector”.
BenevolentAI applies machine learning to drug discovery as a means of cutting the time it takes to develop and test new drugs with patients.
Using its algorithm, the company hopes to find new treatments for conditions including motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s, glioblastoma (brain tumours) and sarcopenia, a loss of skeletal mass associated with ageing.
According to the company, its technology can outperform human scientists in understanding the cause of disease, enabling it to quickly generate potential treatment candidates at scale, while at a lower cost than traditional methods.
The technology is also said to be able to decode the molecular process of disease and match their “signatures” within patients, to ensure that the best drug is given to the right patient.
Mulvany added: “We have come a very long way since we founded the business in 2013. The capabilities of our technology didn’t exist six years ago.
“We are pioneering this sector and have evolved into a fully integrated, AI enabled drug development company with the ability to deliver better medicines at previously unimaginable speeds – this ultimately means patients will receive the right medicines, at a lower cost, in less time.”
The latest round of funding brings the total raised by the company to more than $200 million since it was founded in 2013. The majority of investors are from the United States and were not disclosed by BenevolentAI.
Additional funding comes from existing backer Woodford Investment Management.
Earlier in April, BenevolentAI announced it would work with Parkinson’s UK and the Cure Parkinson’s Trust to identify new ways of treating the condition.