Biotech startup Cradle raises $24 million Series A to accelerate AI technology

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags AI Artificial intelligence machine learning Data management Drug discovery Research

Cradle, the biotech startup using generative AI to help scientists design and engineer proteins, has raised $24 million in Series A funding.

The round was led by Index Ventures with participation from Kindred Capital and takes the total raised by the company to date to $33 million.

The company will use this funding to accelerate its growth, expand its machine learning and biotech team and continue to invest in its product development and sales capabilities.

Since exiting stealth in 2022, Cradle has onboarded nine industry partners including Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Novozymes, and Twist Bioscience.

The company’s platform applies generative AI and machine learning to the process of protein design to accelerate biotech research and development.

It is now working on more than 12 research and development projects focused on engineering a wide range of protein modalities including enzymes, vaccines, peptides and antibodies across a broad spectrum of protein properties.

Stef van Grieken, CEO and co-founder of Cradle, said: “Biological products are one of the biggest tools we can deploy to improve health outcomes and reduce the environmental impact of human consumption. By using generative AI and machine learning to help biologists design and optimise proteins faster and more efficiently, we can help research and development teams innovate faster, spend less and ultimately be more successful in developing new products.

“In the last year we’ve been focused on demonstrating that our technology can deliver meaningful results and initiating partnerships with a number of true industry leaders. We’re thrilled with the progress to date and are excited to have closed our Series A, which gives us everything we need to build on this momentum, accelerate our growth and onboard more customers to our platform.”

According to Cradle, its technology can reduce the time and cost of developing a protein-based product, with most projects progressing two times faster using its platform compared to standard R&D processes.

Researching and developing biological products is a historically costly and time consuming process. For example, biopharma companies spend an average of $22 million and 42 months on R&D to get a single potential product ready for clinical testing, with only around 35% of programs progressing to clinical trials at all.

Cradle’s funding progress demonstrates its ability to provide a cost effective solution for scientists to engineer proteins, the company said.

In 2024, the biotech firm plans to expand its team and build out additional laboratory and engineering facilities in Amsterdam.

Index Ventures partner Sofia Dolfe commented: “The application of AI in biology will be transformational, helping to solve some of the biggest health and climate challenges.

“The early results, from projects run by companies with some of the largest R&D budgets globally, indicate that Cradle's technology is already dramatically accelerating the pace of innovation in a field that will reshape how we produce much of what we consume.

“The team has continued to rapidly expand the capabilities of its platform to meet significant customer demand. It’s exciting to see how scientists leverage Cradle to design new proteins and advance this emerging field of programming biology."

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