Aqemia, a Parisian deep tech startup, has raised €30 million in a Series A funding round to further support the further scaling of drug discovery via combining quantum-inspired physics and machine learning.
Aqemia’s core software, developed from academic research at École normale supérieure (PSL), can predict the effectiveness of a pharmaceutical drug. It does so by predicting first the affinity between a “pharmaceutical target” and a molecule. Aqemia can complete this task in minutes, while other software methods on the market require up to a week. Speedy prediction is key, since identifying the best drug candidates for a given target requires sifting through millions of compounds.
In a short three years, the startup has grown from this spin-out to a team of 50 professionals converging at the intersection of chemistry and artificial intelligence, culminating in several disclosed and undisclosed collaborations worth up to millions of euros with leading pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi, Janssen, and Servier.
Unlike AI-based platforms that need experimental data to train on, Aqemia addresses drug discovery projects from their earliest stage by generating its own data using unique quantum physics algorithms derived from 12 years of research at universities Cambridge, Oxford, École Normale Supérieure, and CNRS.
“The unprecedented pace, whopping 10,000x faster while maintaining costs, and accuracy of our deep physics algorithms, adding up to our generative AI, creates a unique combination that permits to generate innovative new drug candidates more quickly, and scale drug discovery projects as technology projects,” explained Aqemia COO and co-founder Emmanuelle Martiano Rolland. “We are continuously recruiting to address our next technology and drug discovery challenges.”
In addition to the round co-led by Eurazeo and Bpifrance, existing investor Elaia also participated in the round.
"I strongly believe that Aqemia has unparalleled power to shift the drug discovery paradigm,” said Eurazeo’s Antoine Zins. “They have not only solved the missing data paradox in the discovery process with deep physics and AI, they can also generate leads at a faster pace than any discovery platform before them. We are very excited to be part of the adventure by their side.”
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