Genesis Therapeutics, an AI-enhanced drug discovery start-up, says it has closed a series B financing round totaling $200 million. The round was led by an unnamed US-based life science investor and several others including Andreessen Horowitz. The firm, spun out from Stanford University and incorporated in 2019, closed a $52 million series A round in 2020.
Genesis says the funds will help advance its pipeline of AI-enabled small-molecule drug candidates into clinical development. The investment will also support continued enhancements to its Genesis Exploration of Molecular Space (GEMS) technology platform.
The GEMS platform is designed to identify challenging, data-poor, and previously undruggable targets with an eye toward breakthrough treatments, according to Genesis. The firm, which has worked with Eli Lilly and Company and Genentech, has not disclosed the content of its existing pipeline.
Genesis is one of several biotech firms developing AI-enabled technology platforms. Some, including Insilico Medicine and Exscientia, have at least one AI-generated candidate in the clinic. Evan Feinberg, Genesis’s CEO, says GEMS has drawn a strong response from investors because of the platform’s innovative design, which employs generative and predictive AI models and takes a 3D approach to molecular design.
“Genesis has uniquely integrated deep learning and simulations since inception,” says Vijay Pande, founding general partner at a16z Bio + Health, the Andreessen Horowitz division that contributed to the investment round. Pande also led the group at Stanford that is the source of some of the deep learning technologies employed by Genesis.
The platform’s ability to address previously undruggable targets puts Genesis in a leadership position in generative AI for molecular design, Pande says. “Blending technology and biomedicine has untapped potential, and it’s an exciting time to be at the nexus of these two powerful forces,” he says.