Turbine, a company developing a cell simulation platform, has raised $20m in a Series A financing round and will use the funding to develop its AI-powered product.

The London-based company has a cell simulation platform that is able to predict the effectiveness of cancer treatments.

The Simulated Cell platform offers a computer model of the inner signalling network of cancer cells to give a deeper understanding of their biology and the potential impact of treatment.

Mercia and MSD Global Health Innovation (GHI) Fund co-led the financing and were joined by Day One Capital and existing investors Accel, Delin Ventures and XTX Ventures.

Szabolcs Nagy, chief executive officer and co-founder of Turbine, said: “The idea sprung from our frustration that experiments frequently lead to expensive and time-consuming drug development failures.

“We’ve come a long way since 2016, when a handful of biologists and data scientists bootstrapped a technology to predict experiments better reflecting patients and more likely translating in the clinic.

“With over 60 experts across the globe and the support of investors like Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, we’re poised to demonstrate that simulations not only reveal new ways of treating cancer but increase the likelihood of success at every single step towards the clinic.”

Turbine’s technology can be used to identify novel cancer therapies. As well as allowing existing drugs to be targeted at the patients most likely to benefit, this could also predict the efficacy of cancer drug combinations and improve the likelihood of clinical trial success.

The technology has already guided the drug development pipelines of Bayer, as well as two other top 20 global pharma companies.

The AI tech has identified a number of clinically validated cancer cell proteins that drugs could target – something that would have been impossible using other types of computational approaches.

David M. Rubin, managing director at MSD Global Health Innovation Fund, said: “We believe Turbine’s Simulated Cell has the potential to transform key aspects of the oncology drug discovery and development process, providing insight at scale that will shed light on even the most challenging biological mechanisms.”

Turbine is not the only AI-tech company to receive funding recently. Earlier this month Sonrai Analytics was able to secure funding from Eckuity.