AI makes mark in drug discovery in India; start-up Peptris raises $1 mn

Peptris is revolutionizing drug discovery through the implementation of  its state-of-the-art AI platform. It is transforming the traditionally lengthy and costly drug discovery process.

Shine Jacob/Business Standard reports.

The process of discovering and developing a new drug can take decades and costs hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.

However, technological advances like artificial intelligence can help speed up and transform the time-consuming and labor-intensive exercise.

In India, Peptris Technologies, a Bangalore-based AI drug discovery company, has announced $1 million in pre-seed round investment led by Speciale Invest.

The funding marks a key step in boosting the company’s efforts in advancing AI-driven solutions in the drug development/discovery sector, with a special focus on developing novel therapies for undruggable targets, particularly in oncology, inflammation, and rare diseases.

“Around $2.5 billion and ten years are spent generally on getting any drug to the market and its pre-clinical part is about five years.

“With our technology, this pre-clinical phase will shrink to one-and-a-half years and its expense will come down from $700 million to $400,000.

“Thus time, cost and the number of experiments will become advantageous for the industry,” said Narayanan Venkatasubramanian, chief executive officer and co-founder of Peptris.

Peptris is revolutionising drug discovery through the implementation of its state-of-the-art AI platform.

It is transforming the traditionally lengthy and costly drug discovery process, which makes essential medications financially out of reach for many.

This technology efficiently narrows down extensive chemical libraries to pinpoint promising drug candidates, marking a significant advancement over traditional drug discovery methods.

“The company intends to leverage and capitalise on the recent maturation of AI technology in developing its proprietary drug discovery platform.

“The strides in unsupervised learning and the availability of vast chemical libraries have opened new avenues in the sector, offering substantial market opportunities,” the company said in a statement.

Peptris is capitalising on this opportunity by developing a proprietary AI platform that reduces preclinical development timelines and costs multifold.

“We are thrilled to announce that we have secured investment from Speciale Invest.

“We are particularly impressed by their breadth of investment in the deep tech sector, which reflects a profound understanding and commitment to driving technological advancements.

“This partnership marks a significant milestone in our journey.

“The current funding will help us accelerate our AI-powered discovery programmes and create a robust pipeline of potential drug candidates,” said Venkatasubramanian.

“The backing from Speciale Invest is set to catalyse Peptris’ journey, supporting the expansion of the drug pipeline and further refinement of the platform.

“This funding isn’t just an investment in technology; it’s an investment in the future of healthcare in India, bringing hope of more accessible and affordable treatments to millions,” he added.

Founded in 2019, Peptris is led by a founding team that combines deep pharmaceutical knowledge with advanced computational technology.

It is broadening its research scope to include rare diseases, in addition to its ongoing work in oncology and inflammation.

This strategic expansion aligns with the company’s mission to leverage AI for the rapid and efficient discovery of novel therapeutic options.

The integration of AI in drug discovery, particularly in the context of rare diseases, addresses over 7,000 known conditions lacking approved treatments.

By focusing on rare diseases, the company not only bridges a critical gap in healthcare/biotechnology but also makes a significant contribution to societal welfare, providing hope for patients and families affected by these conditions.

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