A key ambition of BenevolentAI is to utilize artificial intelligence in revolutionizing the drug development process. Now, with a licensing agreement with Janssen, it is one significant step closer to realizing that dream. With assistance from Johnson & Johnson Innovation's Centre in London, the British AI company has acquired an undisclosed number of novel clinical stage drug candidates, together with their related patents. The company used its AI platform to evaluate the potential of these small molecule compounds and found some could be promising candidates for hard-to-treat diseases. "The compounds come with a wealth of clinical and biological data that enables BenevolentAI to have further insights into the biology of diseases," said BenevolentAI Bio's CEO Jackie Hunter.
London-based biotech business BenevolentBio is on a mission to overcome the failure of the drug industry to innovate on drug discovery. Andrew Huddart explains and talks to its chief executive, Jackie Hunter. The tools of big data are helping to reshape the industrial landscape of the 21st century. They are helping make entire economic activities obsolete and helping give rise to new ones. The area of health and drug discovery in particular is far from excluded from this change.
BenevolentBio's CMO, Dr Patrick Keohane, says the industry is on the cusp of an artificial intelligence (AI) revolution… Medical research is entering a period of rapid transformation, driven by the explosion of scientific data, rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), and the development of extremely powerful computers. This convergence enables researchers to access enormous and diverse datasets to rapidly form and test scientific hypotheses. It is disrupting the way we identify, validate, and transform scientific concepts into potential Healthcare solutions – ultimately revolutionising the scientific process. AI enables access and the more effective use of existing information for the discovery and development of better drugs at a speed previously unimagined. This is helping to meet the high demand from society to provide better medicines at a reasonable cost, but also influencing how we are looking to treat rarer forms of disease.
BenevolentAI has acquired an exclusive licence for the novel clinical stage candidates, having first used its AI technology to assess their potential. It continues the firm's move into territory more often associated with IT heavyweights like Google and its DeepMind Health unit or IBM and its Watson technology. BenevolentAI's deal with J&J's Janssen Pharmaceutica NV company focuses on hard to treat diseases and will allow it to select a number of small molecule compounds, along with their patent portfolio. BenevolentAI will then have the sole right to develop, manufacture and commercialise these novel drug candidates in all indications and in all territories. The London-based firm said the agreement would enable it to accelerate its development pipeline and use its artificial intelligence technology to provide a rich source of clinical data.
BenevolentAI, a UK company using artificial intelligence for drug development, has raised $115 million in new funding, mostly from undisclosed investors in the United States. Existing backer Woodford Investment Management also participated in the round, which brings the company's total funds raised to over $200 million. "We are very pleased with the response to the fundraising," Ken Mulvany, founder and chairman of BenevolentAI, said in a statement. "It reflects the rapidly growing global interest in the AI pharmaceutical sector and the recognition of our place as the dominant player within it. We have come a very long way since we founded the business in 2013.