Aqemia raises €30m to scale drug discovery platform

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

© chombosan / Getty Images
© chombosan / Getty Images

Related tags: Drug discovery, machine learning, Artificial intelligence, Drug development

The company states that its platform combines quantum-inspired physics and machine learning to accelerate drug discovery.

Aqemia is based in Paris, France, after being spun-off from École normale supérieure (ENS) three years ago. The €30m ($29.3m) the company raised was secured through a Series A funding round, which was co-led by Eurazeo and Bpifrance.

According to Aqemia, the capital will be used to advance the company’s drug discovery platform, called Launchpad.

One of the investors in the project, Antoine Zins, investment director at Eurazeo, stated that the motivation behind getting involved was the belief that Aqemia has “solved the missing data paradox”​ in the drug discovery process using AI and machine learning.

Aqemia outlines that its platform, “unlike usual AI-based platforms,”​ can tackle drug discovery projects from their earliest stage. It can manage this by generating its own data with quantum physics algorithms using 12 years of research conducted at Oxford and Cambridge universities, as well as ENS/Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS).

“The unprecedented pace – a whopping 10,000x faster while maintaining costs – and accuracy of our deep physics algorithms, adding up to our generative AI, creates a unique combination that permits to generate innovative new drug candidates more quickly, and scale drug discovery projects as technology projects.”​ stated Emmanuelle Martiano, Co-Founder & COO of Aqemia.

The company’s plan in the long-term is to build a diversified therapeutic pipeline across different targets and indications through spinning-off biotechs or by partnering to develop individual assets.

Aqemia has already managed to create a proprietary pipeline with several drug discovery projects, ranging from in vitro ​to in vivo ​phases, with a focus on oncology and immuno-oncology.

Partnering to advance

So far, the company has partnered with Sanofi, Janssen, and Servier to advance its pipeline.

The partnership with Sanofi was extended by the fellow French company in June 2022. The two companies had initially begun their research collaboration in 2020, with a focus on designing and discovering novel molecules in oncology.

According to the companies, the initial research had “resulted in promising molecules for an oncology program,”​ which the partners decided to pursue as a joint effort.

Aqemia will be responsible for the AI-based design of the molecules that will be focused on several small molecule design goals, particularly potency and selectivity, in a priority project in oncology.

Sanofi paid an undisclosed upfront payment to Aqemia for their collaborative work.

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