XtalPi, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) drug discovery and development technology company, recently announced an oversubscribed Series C funding of $318.8 million co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2i, PICC Capital, and Morningside, according to a company statement. The new round of financing is joined by over a dozen global investment companies in banking and technology, with follow-on investments from existing investors Tencent, Sequoia China, China Life and SIG.
While mainly known as a giant in using AI for discovery, the company is actively exploring powering pharmaceutical and scientific research with quantum algorithms and a deeper understanding of quantum physics, according to its website.
“Quantum physics and quantum chemistry methods form the core of XtalPi’s technology platform, which involves first-principle calculations whose accuracy is crucial for depicting intramolecular simulations in crystal structure prediction calculations and free energy simulations.”
According to the statement, XtalPi will use this latest round of funding to do just that — bring the power of quantum physics, AI, and almost limitless cloud resources to propel research scientists towards drug candidates with tailored pharmaceutical profiles. Its platform takes the unique approach of combining physics-based and data-driven models to comprehensively address all drug properties relevant to progression into clinical studies. By integrating the predictions of its virtual R&D platform with real-world data from modern laboratories, XtalPi will develop a digital-twin drug R&D system to provide a scalable and sustainable advantage that translates to more promising drug candidates with fewer experiments in less time.
“In the past few years, we have focused on developing and validating our platform’s capabilities by working with some of the top innovative pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the world,” said Shuhao Wen, chairman and co-founder at XtalPi. “As an advocate and trailblazer in AI drug discovery, our investors and we are heartened by several of our AI drug discovery collaborations that reached milestones in significantly shortened timeframes.”
“We believe AI holds the answer to solving pharma’s productivity challenge. More specifically, XtalPi’s AI-powered platform can improve the industry’s research efficiency and success rate in order to lower costs for discovering and developing new drugs. We look forward to applying our platform to help clients bring more first-in-class and breakthrough drugs to the market and address significant unmet medical needs to benefit patients on a global scale.”
In the next steps, XtalPi will expand its Intelligent Digital Drug Discovery and Development (ID4) platform’s capabilities through a three-pronged approach focused on algorithms, data, and computing power to address efficiency bottlenecks throughout the critical steps of pharmaceutical research.
With quantum-based theories and AI models at its core, XtalPi’s platform hosts over a hundred prediction algorithms. It can accurately describe the interaction between molecules and proteins at the atomic level, and map various feature vectors of a compound to key pharmacology properties. The company also leverages the massive amount of high-accuracy data in the chemical space of drug-like molecules generated from quantum mechanics calculations for data analysis and model training. XtalPi maintains a petabyte-scale database consisting of pharmaceutically active molecules and key drug characteristics that continues to grow as its business rapidly expands.
Across several prominent global cloud providers, XtalPi routinely builds a supercomputing cluster of over a million cores on-the-fly, in just a few hours, to enable dozens of drug discovery and design projects in parallel. In developing its digital-twin drug R&D system, XtalPi will continue to match real-world R&D data with increasingly powerful virtual simulations at scale and extend its existing success to serve a larger number of biotech partners, therapeutic areas, and drug discovery projects.
“We believe XtalPi is a leader in transforming drug discovery through its innovative multi-disciplinary approach,” said Eric Chen, Ph.D., Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “Using a combination of quantum physics, AI and cloud computing, XtalPi’s technology platform is improving the efficiency and accuracy of drug research and development. We are pleased to support their mission to build healthier societies around the world.”