A2i Therapeutics secures seed funding from FutuRx and its investors – Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJDC, Inc.), Takeda Ventures, OrbiMed Partners, Leaps by Bayer and the Israeli Innovation Authority – to develop novel small molecule immuno-oncology agents.
18/12/2020 — SAN FRANCISCO & NESS ZIONA, Israel — (BUSINESS WIRE)
Atomwise, the leader in using artificial intelligence (AI) for small-molecule drug discovery, announced today a partnership with FutuRx, a recognized Israeli-based biotechnology incubator focused on innovative, early-stage therapeutic technologies. The collaboration will serve as the first introduction of Atomwise’s AtomNet® platform for AI-based drug discovery to a growing biotech innovation hub in Israel and is Atomwise’s second partnership with a global incubator hub.
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Founded through a joint investment between Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJDC, Inc.), Takeda Ventures Inc., OrbiMed Israel Partners, FutuRx has formed over 20 early-stage companies in partnership with the Israeli Innovation Authority and has transformed breakthrough discoveries into novel medicines. Recently, Leaps by Bayer has joined as a new investor alongside FutuRx’s founding investors to incept and incubate early-stage biotech companies. A2i Therapeutics’ near-term research activities will be funded by capital contributions from the Israeli Innovation Authority, the FutuRx investors, and in-kind resources and support provided by Atomwise.
As part of the strategic partnership, Atomwise will work closely with the FutuRx management team, investors and incubated portfolio companies to apply its AI technology to early-stage drug discovery projects. Atomwise and FutuRx have announced their first joint venture, A2i Therapeutics, with seed funding to leverage Atomwise’s AI platform to target a key protein involved in controlling the innate immune response and potentially a key immuno-oncology target. Atomwise’s AI platform, AtomNet®, can screen more than 16 billion compounds for potential hits in less than two days and has been used by researchers around the world to find hits on targets across numerous disease applications.
“FutuRx is excited to launch a new bio convergence company jointly with a world leader in AI-based drug discovery,” said Kinneret Savitzky, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of FutuRx. “Atomwise brings a legacy of collaboration and innovation in small-molecule drug discovery to our network of leading experts from multinational pharmaceutical companies and venture capital, “We are happy that our partnership with Atomwise will introduce its innovative AI platform for drug discovery to startups and emerging biotech companies in Israel.”
“The Israeli Innovation Authority leads Israel’s Bio-convergence strategy and is happy to have FutuRx once again join this effort together with its new partner Atomwise,” said Anya Eldan, VP of the Innovation Authority and Head of Startup Division. “Atomwise is at the forefront of AI-driven drug discovery, and this partnership with FutuRx will help pursue difficult disease targets and significantly boost the Israeli AI drug discovery and bio-convergence ecosystem.”
FutuRx now joins Atomwise’s growing network of investor and corporate partnerships, which today represents a collective deal value approaching $7 billion. Since its founding, Atomwise has built a strong portfolio of joint-venture companies and partnerships with emerging biotechnology, leading pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies.
In April 2020, Atomwise expanded its strategic partnership with Hansoh Pharma, a leading biopharmaceutical company in China, after successfully completing their first hit-discovery collaboration to identify hit compounds that are specific towards an intractable drug target. This announcement came on the heels of another expanded partnership earlier this year with Bayer to continue the development of two crop protection programs. As part of the strategic partnership, Atomwise is helping Bayer increase the speed and probability of discovering and developing new crop protection products through AI.
“We are excited to see Atomwise, a Leaps by Bayer portfolio company, collaborating with FutuRx on new frontiers for addressing our shared goal of curing and preventing cancer,” said Dr. Juergen Eckhardt, Head of Leaps by Bayer.
FutuRx is the leading biotechnology incubator in Israel, established in 2014 by Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJDC, Inc.), OrbiMed Israel Partners, and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, through its venture group Takeda Ventures Inc., after winning a tender of the Israeli Innovation Authority. Recently Bayer has joined FutuRx as a strategic investor through its corporate venture LEAPS. The incubator is focused on innovative, early stage therapeutic technologies, and has established 23 companies to date. For more information about FutuRx, please visit https://www.futurx.co.il.
Atomwise is revolutionizing how drugs are discovered with AI. We invented the use of deep learning for structure-based drug discovery, today developing a pipeline of small-molecule drug candidates advancing into preclinical studies. Our AtomNet® technology has been used to unlock more undruggable targets than any other AI drug discovery platform. We are tackling over 600 unique disease targets across 775 collaborations spanning more than 250 partners around the world. Our portfolio of joint ventures and partnerships with leading pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and emerging biotechnology companies represents a collective deal value approaching $7 billion. Atomwise has raised over $174 million from leading venture capital firms to advance our mission to make better medicines, faster. Learn more at atomwise.com or follow @AtomwiseInc.