Inceptive, an AI-powered biotech startup founded by a former Google AI researcher Jakob Uszkoreit, has raised $100 million from Nvidia’s NVentures, Andreessen Horowitz and Obvious Ventures. The round takes total financing of the startup to $120 million. It had previously raised $20 million in a seed round last year. The latest round values the company at over $300 million.
Founded in 2021, Inceptive is building an AI platform that can design unique mRNA sequences. The software helps the startup create and test new molecular structures in the lab and then license the successful molecules to pharmaceutical companies for developing new medicines.
“We are creating tools to develop increasingly powerful biological software for the rational design of novel, broadly accessible medicines and biotechnologies previously out of reach,” notes the one-page website of the startup.
Traditionally, without the use of software, creating new mRNA sequences and testing them in the lab is done manually by scientists. They would rely on their knowledge of biology and chemistry to design these sequences. This process can be time-consuming and less efficient because it depends heavily on human expertise and trial-and-error experimentation.
Inceptive’s technology aims to automate and streamline this process by using generative AI. Instead of text or images, which is what generative AI is mainly used for, Inceptive’s tech generates biological data.
The startup is already working with a major European pharmaceutical company for developing an mRNA vaccine for a new infectious disease. Jakob Uszkoreit, the co-founder and CEO of Inceptive told Financial Times that they want to provide their software as a horizontal capability to any entity developing mRNA and later RNA medicines, “There are currently about 310 programs in flight, somewhere between pre-clinical and clinical trials.”
We are beginning to witness various applications of generative AI in healthcare. Although it is still too early to determine whether the software alone can assist in the development of effective and safe medicines or vaccines for humans, the company’s partnership with a leading pharmaceutical company suggests that there is some promise.