Cyclica’s AI-powered, decentralised drug discovery platforms

By William Smith
Cyclica is a Toronto, Canada-based biotechnology company using AI to aid in the process of drug discovery...

Cyclica is a Toronto, Canada-based biotechnology company using AI to aid in the process of drug discovery.

Cyclica’s Ligand Design and Ligand Express discovery platforms use deep and supervised learning to predict molecular properties.

The company says its commercial strategy involved the creation of drug discovery programmes via spin-outs and joint ventures with research institutions in different pharmaceutical areas, with Cyclica also planning to expand into sectors such as agro-chemicals.

Since its foundation in 2013, the company has raised almost $24mn across seven funding rounds. Its latest Series B, announced last month, saw the company raise CA$23mn (~$17mn) from lead investor Drive Capital, alongside Chiesi Farmaceutici and GreenSky Capital.

In a press release, Naheed Kurji, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Cyclica, said: “At the very core of Cyclica’s ethos is the steadfast desire to help patients by advancing the discovery and development of better medicines by taking a holistic yet personalized approach. We are driving this ambitious vision forward by partnering with hyper innovative biotech companies that are rooted in sound science, and we are enabling them with our platform, our team of applied scientists, and our network of external partners. By creating new companies through spin-outs and joint ventures and helping them scale, we are in effect creating the biotech pipeline of the future."

The company said it would use the funds to advance its drug discovery platforms, as well as accelerate its commercial plans.

“What attracted us to Cyclica was their creative and unique business model,” said Molly Bonakdarpour, Partner at Drive Capital. “They’ve createdh a diversified portfolio of assets across therapeutic indications through a partnership model. At the same time, they continue to collaborate with multinational companies. These companies represent strategic partnership options for the Cyclica portfolio. Cyclica is enabling world-class biotech companies while increasing their probability of success.”

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