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Causaly: The AI Platform for Biomedical Research & Drug Discovery Is Making Big Moves

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By: Headliners News / October 25, 2023

Causaly is a London-based startup specializing in artificial intelligence (AI) for drug discovery, has recently secured a $60 million in a Series B funding round led by ICONIQ Growth, along with participation from existing investors such as Index Ventures, Marathon Venture Capital, EBRD, Pentech Ventures, and Visionaries Club. This latest funding brings Causaly’s total raised amount to $93 million, although the company has not disclosed its valuation.

Founded just over six years ago by CEO Yiannis Kiachopoulos and CTO Artur Saudabayev, Causaly has already established partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies and renowned institutions like Gilead, Novo Nordisk, Regeneron, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. These organizations leverage Causaly’s cloud-based AI platform, which facilitates various stages of drug development, including target identification, biomarker determination, and disease understanding.

By streamlining and accelerating these processes, Causaly’s platform has the potential to significantly reduce the time required to take an idea from target discovery to the end of clinical trials. Kiachopoulos estimated that the platform could compress the typical timeline of 10-15 years to just a few years, resulting in substantial cost savings.

Moreover, Causaly’s AI platform aims to minimize the number of failed attempts and unproductive research endeavors that plague the drug discovery process. Kiachopoulos highlighted the staggering failure rate of 90% in bringing drugs to market, with each failed drug costing between $1 billion and $2 billion to develop. By leveraging AI’s capabilities in real-time calculations and image analysis, Causaly intends to address these challenges and provide more efficient and effective drug development solutions.

The field of AI drug discovery has been attracting significant investments, with billions of dollars being injected into startups operating in this space. Recursion, another AI-based drug discovery startup, recently announced a $50 million investment from Nvidia, further emphasizing the substantial funding flowing into this sector.

When asked about the compute power requirements for Causaly’s platform, Kiachopoulos stated that compute resources constituted only a small fraction of the funding. This was attributed to the platform’s design, which predates the need for large language models like Chat GPT. While Causaly plans to incorporate more of these models into its future products, it does not anticipate a significant impact on its compute needs.

One aspect that sets Causaly apart from other startups in the field is its focus on providing tools rather than directly engaging in drug discovery. The company positions itself as a SaaS-based platform, empowering biomedical teams to maximize the potential of its AI tools. Causaly emphasizes its strong partnerships and avoids competition in the drug development arena.

Caroline Xie, a general partner at ICONIQ Growth, will join Causaly’s board as part of the funding round. Xie expressed confidence in Causaly’s ability to deliver AI capabilities to scientists in a reliable and verifiable manner, revolutionizing scientific evidence discovery, visualization, and collaboration across pharmaceutical and life sciences industries.

Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, a partner at Index Ventures, commended Causaly’s impact on biomedical research, noting its adoption by major pharmaceutical companies. He highlighted the platform’s potential for solving significant global challenges, asserting that Causaly represents one of the most practical applications of AI today.

In summary, Causaly’s recent funding round will fuel the expansion of its AI platform for drug discovery. With its established partnerships and track record of success, the company aims to revolutionize the way scientists approach research and development, providing a powerful tool to accelerate drug discovery and improve patient outcomes.

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