Engine Biosciences, a Singaporean startup that is using artificial intelligence to make drug discovery more efficient, announced today it has raised US$10 million led by two Silicon Valley investors named DHVC and 6 Dimensions Capital.
Other investors include WuXi AppTec, EDBI, Pavilion Capital, Baidu Ventures, WI Harper, and Nest.Bio Ventures.
The money will be used to further develop its drug discovery platform, hire more scientists in its home bases of San Francisco and Singapore and pursue medical studies.
The company’s technology uses machine learning to understand genetic interactions that underlie diseases. This kind of information is important for helping scientists develop new drugs to cure said diseases. Engine’s technology is designed to dramatically increase the speed and efficiency of the discovery process.
The key component is Engine’s ability to decipher biological networks that have so far proved elusive for scientists.
“Legacy approaches mean that in many cases, we still have a weak understanding of what drives disease and correspondingly, how to treat or prevent it,” said Engine Co-Founder and CEO Jeffrey Lu in a statement.
“Engine’s data-driven platform allows researchers to not only uncover the critical gene interactions underlying diseases, but also test therapies that specifically target these interactions in a faster, cheaper and more precise fashion than currently possible.”
The technology is proprietary and the result of years of research from a group of bio-scientists who have seen their work published in most of the major peer-reviewed medical journals.
It has been used in the following four use cases.
- Finding new ways to apply old drugs
- Identifying biological factors in diseases
- Supporting unique treatments based on genetics
- Analysing proteins within a gene (called pathway analysis)
Drug development has a high rate of failure and investors hope this technology can help improve the success numbers.
“We expect the company’s AI platform will lead to insightful information in complex diseases’ pathways that was not previously possible using traditional wet lab centric biology research and we are excited to support the team with our investment,” said Dr. Leon Chen, Founding CEO of 6 Dimensions Capital in a statement.
The team consists of a group of scientists that have achieved faculty status at some of the premiere universities and medical institutions in the United States. They include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, the Mayo Clinic, and the University of California San Diego.
The team is actively applying the technology to internal and partner research, one such partner being an unnamed Fortune 500 company.