Cradle raises $24M to expand Generative AI for protein design and engineering

Cradle helps break down traditional data roadblocks with easy-to-use web-based software.
Cradle raises $24M to expand Generative AI for protein design and engineering

Today Netherlands biotech startup Cradle announced it has raised $24 million in Series A funding, taking its total funding to $33 million.

The company uses generative AI to help scientists design and engineer proteins, building easy-to-use web-based software that any team of scientists and experimentalists can use without help from a bioinformatician or machine learning engineer.

The software helps break down traditional data roadblocks that challenge biotechnology companies to make their data available to use Generative AI and ML tools that will accelerate R&D pipelines.

Cradle's proprietary generative AI models are trained on billions of protein sequences as well as data generated in their own wet laboratory.

The community exited stealth in 2022 and has since onboarded nine leading industry partners, including Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Novozymes, and Twist Bioscience.

It is now working with over 12 research and development projects focused on engineering various protein modalities, including enzymes, vaccines, peptides and antibodies across a broad spectrum of desired protein properties, such as stability, expression, activity, binding affinity and specificity.

Results to date show that Cradle's technology can drastically speed up the design and optimisation of proteins with fewer, more successful experiments.

Most projects progress two times faster using Cradle's platform compared to industry benchmarks. Its technology also increases the chances of success of specific R&D programs as its generative AI capabilities can find solutions to protein engineering challenges that humans cannot find with existing tools.

The funding is led by Index Ventures with participation from Kindred Capital. Leading angel investors also participated in the round, including Chris Gibson, co-founder and CEO of Recursion and Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Lead Director, Merck. 

Cradle will use the funding to accelerate its growth, expand its machine learning and biotech team and continue to invest in its product development and sales capabilities.

Stef van Grieken, Cradle's CEO and co-founder, commented:

"Biological products are one of the biggest tools we can deploy to improve health outcomes and reduce the environmental impact of human consumption.

By using generative AI and machine learning to help biologists design and optimise proteins faster and more efficiently, we can help research and development teams innovate faster, spend less and ultimately be more successful in developing new products.

In the last year we've been focused on demonstrating that our technology can deliver meaningful results and initiating partnerships with a number of true industry leaders. 

We're thrilled with the progress to date and are excited to have closed our Series A, which gives us everything we need to build on this momentum, accelerate our growth and onboard more customers to our platform."

Index Ventures Partners Sofia Dolfe commented:

"The application of AI in biology will be transformational, helping to solve some of the biggest health and climate challenges.

The early results, from projects run by companies with some of the largest R&D budgets globally, indicate that Cradle's technology is already dramatically accelerating the pace of innovation in a field that will reshape how we produce much of what we consume.

The team has continued to rapidly expand the capabilities of its platform to meet significant customer demand. It's exciting to see how scientists leverage Cradle to design new proteins and advance this emerging field of programming biology."

Lead image: Cradle. Photo: Uncredited.

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