China’s Qiming Venture Partners Leads $37M In AI-Enabled Drug Discovery Start-Up

Insilico Medicine, a Hong Kong-based start-up specialized in next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) technology for drug discovery, has raised US$37 million in a series B round of financing led by Chinese venture capital firm Qiming Venture Partners, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

Eight Roads, the US$3.5 billion venture capital fund of Fidelity International, American venture fund BOLD Capital Partners, and healthcare and tech-focused F-Prime Capital participated in the new round. Baidu Ventures, China-based biomedical venture capital company Lilly Asia Ventures, and Sinovation Ventures, an investment firm led by former Google China head Kai-Fu Lee, also poured money into the investment.

Other investors include Pavilion Capital, a private equity fund under Singapore-based investment firm Temasek Holdings, and the start-up’s series A round investors.

Founded in 2014, Insilico Medicine specializes in transforming the pharmaceutical industry by developing and applying next-generation AI and deep learning approaches to every step of the drug discovery and drug development process. The company is based in Hong Kong, with offices and research and development facilities worldwide across North America, Europe, and Asia.

Insilico Medicine is developing a broad range of generative adversarial networks (GANs) and reinforcement learning approaches to identify novel protein targets, generate novel molecular structures with specified properties and generate synthetic data. Its newly developed AI-powered GENTRL, a system for drug discovery in cells and animals, is able to speed up the drug discovery process from years to 21 days to ideate and produce the new molecules.

Insilico Medicine will create synergies with the portfolio companies of Qiming Venture Partners and shorten the time for drug discovery, said Nisa Leung, managing partner of Qiming Venture Partners.

Proceeds of this round will be used to commercialize the validated generative chemistry and target identification technology. The company will also build up a senior management team with the experience in the pharmaceutical industry, further develop its pipeline in cancer, fibrosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), immunology and central nervous system (CNS) for the purposes of partnering with the pharmaceutical companies on specific therapeutic programs.