BenchSci, which uses machine learning to identify and resolve preclinical research inefficiencies in drug discovery, raised $22 million in a Series B funding round.
F-Prime Capital led the funding round with participation from Northleaf Capital Partners and existing investors, including Gradient Ventures, Inovia Capital, Golden Ventures, and Real Ventures. As part of the funding, Shervin Ghaemmaghami, Senior Vice President of F-Prime, will join the company’s board of directors.
BenchSci plans to use the new funds to further develop its products that increase the speed and accuracy of pharmaceutical R&D.
The Series B funding round brings the company’s total funding to date to $45 million.
BenchSci also announced the launch of a new AI-Assisted Reagent Selection product.
BenchSci leverages machine learning to target inefficiencies and unnecessary spend in preclinical research. Approximately half of the preclinical research is irreproducible, draining over $28 billion of R&D spend in the US alone each year, with reagents and reference materials accounting for over 36%. This presents life science companies with a $10.2 billion per year opportunity for savings on reagents alone, according to the company.
The BenchSci machine learning unlocks this opportunity by evaluating published experiments to identify which reagents will work for which experiments. BenchSci’s first product, AI-Assisted Antibody Selection, focused only on antibodies, one of the most common research reagents. The company’s new AI-Assisted Reagent Selection product expands to other important reagents, including antibodies, recombinant proteins, RNAi, CRISPR, cell lines, and more.
“The pharmaceutical industry is facing a productivity crisis. R&D costs per drug keep rising while revenue is stagnant. Without major change, this crisis will affect everyone. Low or negative returns will reduce investment in new drugs,” said Liran Belenzon, BenchSci CEO and co-founder. “Artificial intelligence promises to reverse the trend. But most AI in drug discovery is unproven. BenchSci’s products, on the other hand, have an immediate, quantifiable impact.”