April 18, 2018 / 11:04 PM / 3 months ago

AI pharma firm BenevolentAI raises $115 million in funding

LONDON (Reuters) - BenevolentAI, a British pharmaceutical company that uses artificial intelligence to identify new drug candidates, said it had raised $115 million in a funding round that valued it at $2 billion. 

The company, which has more than 20 drugs in development, said it would use the funds to scale its activities, broaden the disease areas on which it focuses, and extend its AI platform capabilities.

Founder and chairman Ken Mulvany said the company had grown rapidly since it was founded in 2013.

“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,” he said. 

BenevolentAI uses proprietary algorithms to analyze millions of pieces of scientific research and clinical studies to home in on possible new medicines and new applications for existing drugs.

The company said it was developing treatments for diseases including motor neuron disease, Parkinson’s disease, glioblastoma and sarcopenia in its Cambridge, east England, research facility. 

It said existing investors, including Woodford Investment Management, and new investors, mainly from the United States, participated in the fundraising. 

Credit Suisse was the placement agent, it said. 

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Alison Williams

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