Iktos raises € 15.5m Series A round to expand its artificial intelligence-based drug discovery technologies and solutions.
Iktos raises € 15.5m for AI Drug Discovery.
- The round is co-led by M Ventures and Debiopharm Innovation Fund with Omnes Capital; all are joining as new investors.
- Series A will enable Iktos to expand its AI technology platform and launch Iktos Robotics, an AI-driven automated end-to-end drug discovery service.
PARIS and LAUSANNE Switzerland, March 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Iktos, a company specializing in artificial intelligence for new drug discovery, today announces the closing of a € 15.5m Series A financing co-led by new investors M Ventures and Debiopharm Innovation Fund with participation from Omnes Capital.
This financing will enable the company to develop its AI and drug discovery capabilities further, expand its existing SaaS software offering, and launch Iktos Robotics. This unique, end-to-end drug discovery platform combines artificial intelligence and automation of chemical synthesis to accelerate drug discovery timelines significantly. Within the financing, Iktos will additionally extend the application of its solutions to biological products (peptides, antibodies, etc.). This allows Iktos to be one of the first companies to offer fully integrated drug discovery services to the pharmaceutical industry.
The early stages of drug development – identification of therapeutic target to first clinical entry – take, on average, five years, requiring an investment of ~$ 100m per drug candidate. The artificial intelligence solutions developed by Iktos are aimed to considerably speed up the drug discovery process while increasing the probability of success of drug candidates reaching clinical development. This approach is already validated by Iktos through more than 50 academic and industrial collaborations with multiple pharmaceutical and biotech companies such as Janssen, Merck, Pfizer, Servier, Ono, and Teijin, to name only a few.
Yann Gaston-Mathé, President and co-founder of Iktos, said: “The search for new drug matter is still a laborious and uncertain quest of exploring a chemical universe composed of a virtually infinite number of potential molecules. The application of artificial intelligence to early drug discovery and design offers the possibility of a radical change for researchers exploring the chemical universe. The technologies we have developed have enabled multiple partners to realize this promise. We welcome our new, experienced investor syndicate and new financing that will allow us to execute our plan of being the preferred partner for the industry to address their drug development needs.”
Dr. Nadiya Ishnazarova of M Ventures, commenting on behalf of the syndicate, stated: “Shortening drug discovery cycle times and accelerating processes to clinical entry at lower cost has been a high priority for the industry and clinicians alike. We believe Iktos, with its mature technology across generative AI and synthesis planning. In addition, advancements in building fully integrated drug discovery platforms have the potential to provide a competitive edge for the pharma industry as AI/ML becomes a core feature of R&D.” Tanja Dowe, the CEO of Debiopharm Innovation Fund, added: “We are very excited to collaborate with an impressive syndicate of strong investors M Ventures and Omnes Capital to support Iktos in executing on its plans to develop cutting-edge end-to-end AIDD capabilities.”
Iktos raises € 15.5m for AI Drug Discovery
Iktos is a French start-up specializing in developing artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for chemical research, specifically medicinal chemistry, and new drug design. Iktos develops a proprietary and innovative solution based on generative deep learning models, which allows, from existing data, to design optimized molecules in silico to meet all the success criteria of a small molecule discovery project. Using the Iktos technology platform enables major productivity gains in upstream pharmaceutical R&D. Iktos offers its technology both as professional services and as a SaaS software platform, Makya™. Iktos also develops Spaya™, a synthesis planning software based on Iktos’ proprietary AI technology for retrosynthesis. Iktos has already validated its technology through more than 50 collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech companies such as Chiesi Group, Galapagos, Janssen, Merck, Teijin, Ono Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Servier, UCB…
About M Ventures
M Ventures is the strategic corporate venture capital arm of Merck. From its headquarters in the Netherlands and offices in Germany, the USA, and Israel, M Ventures invests globally in transformational ideas driven by innovative entrepreneurs. Taking an active role in its portfolio companies, M Ventures collaborates with management teams and co-investors to translate scientific discoveries into commercial success. In addition, M Ventures focuses on identifying and financing novel solutions to some of the most difficult challenges through company creation and equity investments in fields that will impact the vitality and sustainability of Merck’s current and future businesses.
About Debiopharm Innovation Fund
Debiopharm Innovation Fund, the strategic investment arm of Swiss biopharmaceutical company Debiopharm, provides funding and guidance for companies with an ambition to improve the patient journey and transform pharmaceutical R&D. Since 2017, Debiopharm has invested in 20 AI and digital health companies, typically leading the investment rounds.
About Omnes Capital
Omnes is a major player in private equity and infrastructure. With over €5 billion in assets under management, Omnes provides companies with the equity capital they need to grow through its three core businesses: Venture Capital, Expansion Capital & LBO, and Infrastructure. Omnes is 100% owned by its employees. The company is committed to ESG issues and created the Omnes Foundation in favor of children and youth. It is a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).