AI is finding its way into every industry, and medtech is no exception.
BenchSci has announced that they have raised a $10.3 million ($8 million USD) Series A round. This financing was led by iNovia Capital and featured participation from Google’s AI-focused venture fund Gradient ventures, as well as returning investors Golden Venture Partners, Afore Capital and Real Ventures.
The new capital will help the Toronto-based BenchSci hire more researchers and scientists as well as expand the sales and marketing programs to bring on new customers. The funding will also help build out the startup’s AI tech that is currently used to accelerate biomedical discoveries.
“Without the use of AI, basic biomedical research is not only challenging, but drug discovery takes much longer and is more expensive,” said Liran Belenzon, CEO and co- founder of BenchSci. “We are applying and developing a number of advanced data science, bioinformatics, and machine learning algorithms to solve this problem and accelerate scientific discovery by ending reagent failure.”
BenchSci will leverage the AI expertise from Gradient ventures to expand their knowledge in the field and use iNovia’s talents—who have plans to soon be a billion-dollar fund—to scale the operational side of things. BenchSci also counts the Vector Institute’s research director Richard Zemel as an advisor.
Researchers often waste time and money when it comes to testing and finding antibodies that simply do not work. These obstacles slow the study and deployment of real treatments that actually work. With BenchSci, researchers can find more reliable antibodies up to 24 times faster and 75 per cent cheaper than existing methods.
After launching out of beta in 2017, BenchSci has analyzed the data of more than four million commercial antibodies. Over a dozen pharma companies use BenchSci, including seven of the world’s top 10. In addition, 910 academic research institutions use the AI platform as well. In total, BenchSci grows their user base by 20 per cent month over month.
“Machine learning is transforming biomedical research,” said Ankit Jain, founding partner of Gradient Ventures. “BenchSci’s technology provides a unique value proposition for this market, enabling academic researchers to spend less time searching for antibodies and more time working on their experiments. Our expectation is that this should lead to new discoveries (and publications) at faster rates than previously possible. BenchSci is using its technology to disrupt the status quo.”