News Report Technology
December 20, 2023

India’s Peptris Raises $1 Million Funding as AI Drug Discovery Gains Global Momentum

In Brief

AI drug discovery startup Peptris Technologies raised $1 million in pre-seed funding round led by Speciale Invest to ease drug development.

India's Peptris Raises $1 Million Funding as AI Drug Discovery Gains Global Momentum

Indian AI drug discovery startup Peptris Technologies raised $1 million in pre-seed funding round led by Speciale Invest – a deep-tech-focused venture capital firm.

Founded in 2019 by Shridhar Narayanan, Venkatasubramanian, Anand Budni and Amit Mahajan, Peptris’s platform uses advanced AI algorithms to sift through vast chemical libraries, efficiently identifying promising drug candidates.

According to the announcement, the startup will use the funding to harness the power of AI to expedite the advancement of new drugs, with a specific emphasis on oncology, inflammation and rare diseases.

“We are thrilled to announce that we have secured investment from Speciale Invest…. This partnership marks a significant milestone in our journey. The current funding will help us accelerate our AI-powered discovery programs and create a robust pipeline of potential drug candidates,” said Narayanan Venkatasubramanian, CEO and co-founder of Peptris.

“The backing from Speciale Invest is set to catalyze Peptris’ journey, supporting the expansion of the drug pipeline and further refinement of the platform. This funding isn’t just an investment in technology; it’s an investment in the future of healthcare in India, bringing hope of more accessible and affordable treatments to millions,” he added.

Peptris asserts that one of the biggest challenges of pharmaceutical industry is the rapidly increasing drug discovery costs. Estimates suggest it can now cost upwards of $2 billion to bring a new drug to market. Furthermore, about 90% of all drug candidates fail during clinical trials, increasing costs.

Now, AI-driven optimization plays a vital role in a field where traditional methods are resource-intensive and time-consuming.

Peptris is expanding its research horizon to encompass rare diseases, supplementing its existing work in oncology and inflammation. The company is harnessing the capabilities of AI to identify innovative therapeutic solutions, and this integration of AI in drug discovery holds particular significance for rare diseases, where over 7000 known conditions currently lack approved treatments.

Funding Showers for AI-Based Drug Discovery Startups

Industry experts foresee that the incorporation of AI in drug discovery holds the potential to expedite processes and cut costs. Market research firm Bekryl has estimated potential savings exceeding $70 billion in the drug discovery process by 2028, attributing these savings to the integration of AI.

The year 2023 is already witnessing a strong momentum. In July 2023, London-based startup Causaly secured $60 million in a Series B funding round, aimed at fueling research and development initiatives and further expanding its team. The company has developed an AI platform designed to assist researchers in expediting drug development and testing processes.

In August, a group of former Meta researchers, responsible for creating an AI language model tailored for biology — launched a new venture called EvolutionaryScale and raised a funding round of at least $40 million to propel its research focused on the development of drugs capable of curing diseases. The aim is to achieve this by increasing the size of its AI model.

In the same month, US-based Genesis Therapeutics raised $200 million in Series B as the startup is employing AI to advance the development of small-molecule drugs. With the newly acquired funds, it intends to transition into a clinical-stage company, allocate resources to further enhance its AI platform, and broaden its discovery pipeline.

Likewise in September, Generate: Biomedicines secured $273 million in a Series C funding round from Nvidia’s venture capital arm and Amgen, to strengthen the company’s drug development pipeline, with a focus on diverse disease areas including cancer, infectious diseases, and immunological conditions.

The list is countless.

In 2024, the landscape of AI-based drug discovery can make significant advancements, as evidenced by key developments in the field having secured substantial funding to propel their research initiatives.

These efforts aim to leverage AI in accelerating drug development, with a particular emphasis on addressing critical medical challenges. The infusion of significant capital into these ventures signifies a pivotal year for the intersection of AI and pharmaceuticals, potentially leading to breakthroughs in drug discovery and treatment methodologies.

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About The Author

Kumar is an experienced Tech Journalist with a specialization in the dynamic intersections of AI/ML, marketing technology, and emerging fields such as crypto, blockchain, and NFTs. With over 3 years of experience in the industry, Kumar has established a proven track record in crafting compelling narratives, conducting insightful interviews, and delivering comprehensive insights. Kumar's expertise lies in producing high-impact content, including articles, reports, and research publications for prominent industry platforms. With a unique skill set that combines technical knowledge and storytelling, Kumar excels at communicating complex technological concepts to diverse audiences in a clear and engaging manner.

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Kumar Gandharv
Kumar Gandharv

Kumar is an experienced Tech Journalist with a specialization in the dynamic intersections of AI/ML, marketing technology, and emerging fields such as crypto, blockchain, and NFTs. With over 3 years of experience in the industry, Kumar has established a proven track record in crafting compelling narratives, conducting insightful interviews, and delivering comprehensive insights. Kumar's expertise lies in producing high-impact content, including articles, reports, and research publications for prominent industry platforms. With a unique skill set that combines technical knowledge and storytelling, Kumar excels at communicating complex technological concepts to diverse audiences in a clear and engaging manner.

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