XtalPi, an artificial intelligence (AI) drug discovery and development company, is pleased to announce its investment in the Series B financing of PhoreMost, a UK-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to ‘Drugging the Undruggable®’ disease targets. The investment round totaled $46 million and was led by BGF, with participation from XtalPi and a panel of new and existing investors. XtalPi Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) Dr. Alan Jiang will join PhoreMost’s Board of Directors.
The new round of financing will support the advancement of PhoreMost’s portfolio of internal pipeline and collaborative programs across oncology and aging therapeutic indications, including an ‘Allosteric PLK1’ collaboration for brain cancer treatment expected to enter the clinic in 2022. Additionally, PhoreMost is developing novel therapeutic modalities in the targeted protein degradation space on its SITESEEKER® phenotypic screening platform.
The two companies have an ongoing AI drug discovery collaboration that started in 2020, where XtalPi is leveraging its Intelligent Digital Drug Discovery and Development (ID4) platform to generate ultra-large chemical spaces and discover high-quality lead compounds against “undruggable” oncology targets identified by PhoreMost. Building upon existing relationships, XtalPi’s investment will allow the two companies to deepen their partnership and explore the full potential of their platforms’ combined strength to pursue new targets in more therapeutic areas systematically and with speed.
PhoreMost’s SITESEEKER® platform can be used in any disease setting to screen for target interaction sites of therapeutic interest. It is particularly effective against targets generally considered “undruggable” due to the lack of well-defined binding pockets on their surface. PhoreMost’s unique ability to discover and validate novel drug targets is highly complementary to XtalPi’s ID4 platform, which has been proven effective in discovering and designing drug molecules and quickly advancing them into pre-clinical development. In combining forces with PhoreMost, XtalPi can further exploit its cloud-based platform’s scalability and create a closed-loop AI R&D workflow to convert novel targets into early pipeline assets.
Over the past few months, XtalPi has announced a series of AI drug discovery collaborations in oncology, with pharmaceutical and biotech companies including Huadong Medicine, 3D Medicines, Singleron, and Signet Therapeutics, with some of the projects preparing to enter clinical research. XtalPi’s ID4 platform is used in the discovery and development of over 100 pipeline molecules across a broad range of therapeutic areas. Existing collaborations show that for challenging targets, ID4 can identify molecules with stronger activity at a much faster speed than traditional methods, significantly accelerate their progression into the clinical stage, and support drug discovery programs at scale.
“We saw a distinct advantage and great promise in our collaboration with PhoreMost,” said Dr. Shuhao Wen, chairman of XtalPi, “and we believe a closer partnership of the two platform companies will bring us an explosive expansion in pipeline assets. In working with PhoreMost, we look forward to unearthing at scale drug discovery opportunities that are inaccessible to traditional research methods, building a wide bridge from novel and challenging targets to clinical research, and continuing to grow our collaboration with global pharmaceutical companies.”
Dr. Alan Jiang, CSO at XtalPi, said: “XtalPi’s has always attached great importance to technology innovations that can improve key steps of biopharmaceutical research and offer unique value in our ecosystem as we seek to build a platform with comprehensive drug R&D capabilities. As PhoreMost’s collaborator and now investor, we are excited to support them on their mission to ‘drug the undruggable’ and look forward to working more closely with this incredible team to expand our pipeline, particularly for diseases that have few or no treatment options, and make impactful changes to the life of patients around the world.”