BenchSci is a Toronto-based company with a focus on developing technology with artificial intelligence so it can be used to expedite the research and discovery process for medicinal drugs. The technology is a platform that can be utilized for research purposes and can give researchers specific information on their intended experiment, thus reducing time spent on researching and planning materials.
The company has two platforms: the AI-Assisted Reagent Selection and the AI-Assisted Antibody Selection. The former platform has the capability of selecting the reagents for an experiment in as little as thirty seconds, whereas traditional research would take weeks. The latter platform aids researchers with finding appropriate products for the experiments using a database of more than 10 million scientific publications. The sources have been given independent validations from organizations such as The Human Protein Atlas and Encode. The academic versions of the platforms are free to appropriate institutions and the platforms can be accessed via payment for enterprise and commercial purposes.
BenchSci was founded in 2015 by Tom Leung, David Q Chen, Elvis Wianda, and Liran Belenzon. Tom Leung was researching cancer when an inappropriate antibody caused him to lose rare patient samples. He contacted machine learning and data experts David Q Chen and Elvis Wianda at the University of Toronto to find out if machine learning could help choose appropriate antibodies in the future. Liran Belenzon (now CEO) met the team at the Creative Destruction Lab and together they built, tested, and validated a solution to preclinical research waste.
The company launched commercially in July 2017 with its first application, the AI-Assisted Antibody Selection platform. BenchSci's products have been used by fifteen top twenty pharma companies and over 41,200 scientists working at more than 4,450 institutions worldwide.
BenchSci raised CAD$2.75 million in three seed rounds in 2016 and 2017, led by Golden Ventures and Real Ventures. In two Series A funding rounds, they received CAD$10.2 million (May 2nd, 2018) and CAD$6.7 million (June 26th, 2019), led by Inovia and Gradient Ventures (Google's AI fund), respectively. On February 4th, 2020 BenchSci raised USD$22 million in Series B funding, bringing its total raised to USD$45 million. The lead investor was F-Prime Capital, with participation from Northleaf Capital Partners and existing investors, including Gradient Ventures, Inovia Capital, Golden Ventures, and Real Ventures. F-Prime senior vice president Shervin Ghaemmaghami will join BenchSci’s board of directors.
On November 17th, 2021, BenchSci was named a Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Company, ranking 19th. The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 program is a Canadian technology awards program. To qualify, companies must have been in business for at least four years, have revenues of at least $5 million, be headquartered in Canada, own proprietary technology, conduct research and development activities in Canada, and invest a minimum of five percent of gross revenues in Research and Development.
BenchSci raises $22 million for AI-powered drug discovery tools
February 4, 2020
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