Generate Biomedicines raises $370m to advance AI drug discovery tech

Generate Biomedicines has raised $370 million to further develop its artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery technology, expand its team and build labs.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech completed a series B round last week, attracting investment from founding backer Flagship Pioneering and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the Alaska Permanent Fund and Altitude Life Science Ventures.

Generate said the money will allow it to “advance and evolve” the platform and “scale the organization with top-tier scientific and computational talent.”

It also said it plans to increase its current 80-strong workforce to 500 over the next two years.

In addition, the firm is building two facilities to expand its computational biology, machine learning, data generation and wet lab capabilities.

Machine learning approach

Generate Biomedicines uses machine learning – a type of AI in which software is trained to make accurate predictions – to generate novel therapeutic candidates.

The machine learning system is fed s data from multiple proteins allowing it to elucidate a set of general rules that govern how primary amino acid sequences fold into 3D structure.

These rules are used to predict the structure of novel proteins binders are able to interact with specific therapeutic targets.

Molly Gibson, Co-founder and chief strategy and innovation officer said, “The technology connects DNA sequence to protein structure and function.

“It is able to create entire novel protein structures, for example a structure of an antibody bound to a specific epitope, and then generate DNA sequences that would encode that structure.”

The firm said it “will have multiple preclinical programs by year-end with several in the clinic in 2023.”

Generate Biomedicines also plans to seek collaborators according to Gibson, who said “We plan to pursue our own novel therapeutics and will look to partner with biotechnology companies to co-develop other therapeutics.”

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