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AI Pharma Company Raises $15M in Early Funds

Artificial intelligence graphic

(Gerd Altmann, Pixabay)

6 Jan. 2021. A company using algorithms to develop new drugs designed to better succeed in clinical trials is raising $15 million in its first venture round. VeriSIM Life in San Francisco is a five year-old enterprise that applies machine learning and other artificial intelligence tools to better determine outcomes of new drugs, thus reducing the time and cost of development.

VeriSIM Life uses machine learning and other computational tools for predicting a drug candidate’s efficacy before subjecting the drug to live animals and humans for testing. The company says the pharma industry has about an eight percent success rate taking new drugs to market. With advance simulations of a proposed drug’s efficacy, says VeriSIM, a company could save considerable time and expense of animal testing and human clinical trials, instead of the current trial-and-error approach.

The company’s technology, called BIOiSIM, uses machine learning, an A.I. technique where large volumes of data train problem-solving statistical models or algorithms. In this case, the models are based on data documenting biochemical interactions with human and animal physiology, with those models simulating toxicity and effectiveness of proposed therapies before they’re used with animals or humans. In a paper published in June 2020, a VeriSIM Life team demonstrated the BIOiSIM technology with efficacy simulations of narcotic pain drugs delivered through skin patches rather than oral drugs or injections.

In March 2021, VeriSIM Life began PulmoSIM Therapeutics, a subsidiary to develop new drugs for rare respiratory diseases. PulmoSIM has two candidates in development, code-named PT001 to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension and PT002 for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Both PT001 and PT002 are in preclinical development. PT001 also received orphan drug designation from the Food and Drug Administration in June 2021, and in July arranged with two medical centers for clinical trials.

Find drug combinations to treat Covid-19

As reported by Science & Enterprise in March 2021, VeriSIM Life received a grant from National Science Foundation for applying its BIOiSIM technology to identify optimal combinations of drugs to treat Covid-19 disease. For Covid-19, the company is building whole-body simulation models to test combinations of existing drugs, either fully approved or authorized by FDA, as well as experimental drugs to minimize infections, viral loads, and replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The objective is to match an individual’s condition with drug combinations and dosage levels for best treating Covid-19 infections.

VeriSIM Life is raising $15 million in its first venture funding round, led by technology investor Morpheus Ventures in Los Angeles. Joining the round are current investors OCA Ventures, Intel Capital, Serra Ventures, and Susa Ventures, as well as new investors Debiopharm Innovation Fund and Colorcon Ventures.

“While others have made progress applying AI to fixing the drug discovery process,” says Damien Petty, partner at Morpheus Ventures, in a VeriSIM Life statement released through BusinessWire, “the long and costly post-discovery development phase has been largely overlooked. VeriSIM is unique in applying physics-based AI/ML models to disrupting the drug development phase to achieve significant results for its customers and partners.”

Jo Varshney, founder and CEO of VeriSIM Life, adds, “This new funding will allow us to accelerate our growth and bring the future of more efficient, cost-effective clinical trials to life.”

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