The Rise of AI in Drug Discovery: A Global Affair

JJohn July 29, 2023 8:26 PM

An increasing number of startups are leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize drug discovery, with chipmaker Nvidia investing $50 million in biotech startup Recursion. However, Recursion isn't the only player in the field, and it's noteworthy that several of their competitors are based in Israel.

Nvidia's big bet on Recursion

In a significant move that showcases the potential of AI in biotech, chipmaker Nvidia has invested a whopping $50 million into Recursion. The startup plans to use this investment to speed up the development of its AI foundation models for biology and chemistry. This development points to a growing trend of integrating advanced AI models into the biotech industry to drive innovation and increase efficiency.

Recursion's ambitious goal in drug discovery

Recursion aims to establish a definitive foundation model for the drug discovery space, a task acknowledged by its CTO Ben Mabey as being no easy feat. However, with Nvidia's support and the power of AI, both companies are hopeful about overcoming the challenges. The goal is to use AI to solve the problems that have traditionally plagued the drug discovery process, thus creating a more efficient and innovative industry.

Global competition in the AI-enabled drug discovery field

While Recursion is at the forefront of this AI revolution in drug discovery, it's not alone. In fact, it recently acquired two companies, Cyclica and Valence, which are also active in the AI-enabled drug discovery space. Interestingly, while these three companies are North America-based, a significant portion of their competitors operate out of Israel, indicating a global interest and investment in this innovative approach to drug discovery.

The rise of Israel as a hotbed for AI-enabled biotech startups can be attributed to several factors, as pointed out by Lior Handelsman and Renana Ashkenazi, general partners at Israeli VC firm Grove Ventures. They cite the presence of academic talent and the inherent entrepreneurial spirit as major contributors to Israel's emergence as a player in the global drug discovery arena, transforming the country into a 'Startup Nation'.

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