UK – Kuano, a UK-based startup that deals in Artificial Intelligence, has raised £1M in seed funding to further expedite the development of its platform for the discovery of therapeutics meant to target enzyme inhibition.

The £1 million in funding will go towards expanding the technology team and the further development of the company’s platform and assets, including its own range of novel therapeutics. It will also be used to create a data bank for use in its work with academic and commercial partners.

Kuano’s software platform creates rapid, cost effective quantum modelling of enzymes, which are used in combination with chemistry approaches to design optimized inhibitors with improved properties for use in medicines.

“With this investment, our investors have affirmed the strength of our technology and its commercial potential. Building upon years of research, this funding will drive the development of our platform, facilitate the rollout of our own range of therapeutics and expand our team,” said Vid Stojevic, co-founder and chief executive officer of Kuano.

With AI geared up to transform the pharmaceutical industry, a growing number of biotech and pharma startups are harnessing cutting-edge AI technology for drug discovery and drug remodeling.

To shift the COVID-19 tide and get things back to normal, the sector has become a hotbed for growing investments.

Investors have been increasingly optimistic about the promise of AI in drug discovery and pouring more money into AI-driven biotech startups.

At the moment, enzymes represent the largest class of drug targets, with over US$40 billion of pharmaceutical sales attributable to small molecule inhibitors of enzymes.

The market is seeing considerable demand for enzyme inhibitors, which can provide improved drug potency, selectivity or reduced susceptibility to resistance.

The start-up is utilizing this platform to advance not only its own pipeline of novel therapeutics, but also in collaborative programme with academic partners including Alzheimer’s Research UK University College London Drug Discovery Institute (ARUK UCL DDI).

The collaboration with ARUK UCL DDI is focused on silico approaches meant to identify new leads as inhibitors of NOTUM carboxylesterase.

ARUK UCL DDI was launched in 2015 as part of the wider Drug Discovery Alliance funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK with the aim of coupling sophisticated drug discovery capabilities alongside deep disease-specific expertise to identify and validate new therapeutic targets.