Jackie Hunter, CEO of BenevolentBIo, presents the BenevolentAI award to a representative of two Parkinson’s disease charities.

BenevolentAI Investors Bet on Cures, Batteries & Science Tech

A London-based start-up specializing in AI drug development, BenevolentAI just completed raising another $115 million, bringing its capital raises to a total valuation of $2.1 billion from Woodford Investment Management and unnamed “strategic” backers primarily in the United States.

BenevolentAI’s main product is development of an AI “brain” that absorbs “billions of data points in health and material science” information. Because of the complexity in dealing with mutations in cancer and other diseases, the company expects computing power to help create successful customized drug treatments. The company plans to double its staff from 150 to 300 people.

According to a press release, the drug division, called Benevolent Bio, expects two drugs to come to market in the next few years. A Parkinson’s drug is currently in Phase 2B clinical trials, years after work began on developing it. Another drug is in development to extend the lives of patients diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s five years away from medical trials. Other diseases the company is researching for pharmaceutical treatments include Motor Neuron Disease, Glioblastoma and Sarcopenia.

Products the company plans to research include chemicals to create efficient batteries, agriculture and veterinary science. Its research facilities are in Cambridge.

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