Medical artificial intelligence firm BenevolentAI secures $115m in funding

The AI pharmaceutical startup has been valued at $2 billion.

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BenevolentAI has secured $115 million in funding to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in the development of new medical treatments.

On Wednesday, the startup said the cash injection came from both new and existing investors at a pre-money valuation of $2 billion.

Founded in 2013, the British company has now raised $202 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

Investors include Woodford Investment Management, Lundbeck, and Lansdowne Partners. The identity of some investors has not been disclosed.

BenevolentAI says the funding round is one of the largest in the AI pharmaceutical sector to date -- which is not surprising considering the industry is in its infancy and the technology driving the industry is relatively new.

BenevolentAI says that artificial intelligence can be used to lower the cost of developing new drugs by utilizing machine learning (ML) to quickly generate drug candidates at scale.

AI can also take the labor out of analyzing diseases at the molecular level in order to link them to patients with difficult to treat diseases -- paving the way for more effective, faster, personalized medicine.

The startup has developed a machine learning-based "brain" which analyzes over 50 billion medical data records to generate new insights into drug discovery.

BenevolentAI's technology is currently in use for the development of treatments across diseases including Motor Neuron Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Glioblastoma, and Sarcopenia.

See also: Google takes health care to the cloud with new API, partnerships

Over 20 drug programs have been initiated to date.

BenevolentAI intends to use the cash injection to scale up drug development and improve the AI platform.

In addition, the startup intends to explore whether the AI brain can be of use in other areas, such as material sciences and agriculture.

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