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The Biotech Startup Using Artificial Intelligence For Naturally Derived Drugs

June 18, 2024
x min read

There’s a new startup with a bold ambition: combining plants with artificial intelligence to develop new drugs.

What’s happening:

  • Artificial intelligence powered drug discovery startup Enveda has raised $55M USD in a Series B financing round
  • The round was led by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT)

The big idea:

  • Enveda claims to have built the most advanced drug discovery data set in the world for examining natural plants for potential therapeutic purposes
  • Through leveraging artificial intelligence, Enveda is able to precisely determine which plants may be capable of being used for specific new drugs based on their chemical composition and naturally occurring properties

By the numbers:

  • Enveda has raised $230M USD in venture capital funding since inception
  • Their current database contains more than 38,000 medicinal plants and their chemical composition
  • The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 40% of approved therapeutics come from naturally occurring plants, with the most notable example being Aspirin which is derived from willow bark

Why it matters:

  • The rise of cannabis and psychedelic startups has put a new emphasis on leveraging nature for therapeutics, with publicly traded companies such as MindMed (NASDAQ: MNMD) and Cybin (NYSE: CYBN) previously achieving Breakthrough Therapy designation from the FDA for psychedelic derived medicines

Going deeper:

  • Enveda currently has multiple drugs under development, including new therapeutics for fibrosis, inflammation and pain

The intrigue:

  • Microsoft also has publicly stated they plan to provide cloud computing credits to Enveda for their artificial intelligence model training, although that is separate from their equity investment into the startup

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