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Business


Figure 1 The number of AI-DDD companies that have been created each year. In addition the amount of equity investments made in AI-DDD companies. Finally the number of AI-DDD company collaborations with large pharmaceutical companies. These data are adapted from the work of Arnii Buvailo at BiopharmaTrend.com (https://www.biopharmatrend.c om/m/charts/)9


and as yet, non-validated platform. In spite of these significant metric differentials,


the current


Moderna market capitalisation is still a compara- ble ~80% of Alnylam’s valuation.


Artificial Intelligence PD3 companies Data analytics, knowledge management and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have experienced explo- sive growth trends over the past decade. In partic- ular the advent of AI-DDD efforts is noteworthy (see Figure 1). It is estimated that ~130 small com- panies now have business expertise and focus in AI-DDD, and most large pharma companies have also attempted to develop or bring-in-house such capabilities, as exemplified by the dramatic increase in large pharma collaborations in AI-DDD (see Figure 1)8,9. The breakdown of small compa- ny AI-DDD capabilities is as follows; software/AI services ~66%, operational services ~14%, drug candidates as a service ~14%, and in-house drug development candidates (ie AI-PD3 companies) 6%9. This has attracted frenzied activity on the part of the investment community and venture cap- ital/private equity monies are now readily available for AI-DDD companies as highlighted below (as shown in Figure 1).


BenevolentAI (www.benevolent.ai) is an AI-DDD company specialising in machine learning. The com- pany was founded in 2013 and is located in London, UK. It employs ~300 people and last year had annu- al revenues of ~$2 million. The company has raised $207.7 million and is a privately-held entity. BenevolentAI currently offers both operational and drug candidate services to third parties and has no


Drug Discovery World Spring 2019


drug candidate pipeline. However, based on this focused AI-DDD approach, the company is valued at $2 billion! It is also now transitioning into an AI- PD3 company with an emphasis on ALS.


CureHunter Inc (www.curehunter.com) is a pioneer in the application of AI to DDD through its propri- etary Machine Learning/Graph-Network Theory Platform. The company was founded in 2007 and is located in Portland, Oregon, USA. During the initial years the company provided AI-based, evidence- based medicine services to patients on a subscription basis. It transitioned into also providing potential drug candidates to pharmaceutical companies and then into generating its own drug candidates as an AI- PD3 company. Currently the management team is reassessing the business model. (Disclosure: Dr Stephen Naylor, one of the authors of this paper, serves as a Board Advisor to the company.)


Verge Genomics (www.vergegenomics.com) is a purpose-built AI-PD3 company founded in 2015 and located in San Francisco, California, USA. It employs ~20 people, with annual revenues of $3 million (2018). The company has raised $36 mil- lion and has developed strong academic partner- ships with a focus in ALS and Parkinson’s disease. The company does not yet have a drug candidate pipeline given its recent formation, and has a mod- est valuation.


BenevolentAI is a Unicorn company with a valu-


ation of ~$2 billion. The company is transitioning towards becoming an AI-PD3 company with a focus on developing in-house drug candidates in ALS.


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