ImmunitoAI, a biotech startup that is developing an AI-powered antibody discovery and screening platform announced USD 1 Million in seed funding. The funding round is being led by pi Ventures, with existing investor Entrepreneur First also participating. This is pi Ventures’s first investment from their Fund 2, announced in April 2021. The funds raised by the startup will be deployed for product development and industry partnerships.
immunitoAI was founded in November 2020 by Aridni Shah, a PhD in Biological Sciences from the National Centre of Biological Sciences, TIFR, with over 9 years of experience in immunoassays & molecular techniques, and Trisha Chatterjee, with an MSc in Computer Science from Delhi University, having over 7 years of experience in the startup ecosystem, applying Artificial Intelligence in various industries.
Antibodies have shown a lot of promise as a candidate for targeted therapy since they bind very specifically to their targets. This enables them to reduce/eliminate side effects caused by the current treatment methods for diseases like cancer and autoimmune disorders. As per Fortune Business Insights, the global monoclonal antibody therapy market size is expected to grow from $157.33B in 2020 to $451.89B in 2028.
The platform of AI-powered software being developed by immunitoAI designs and screens the best antibody candidates for a given target antigen. imRANK, which is currently being developed by the company, screens and ranks the best antibody candidate by predicting how well it binds to the target antigen. imEVOLVE, the next product in the pipeline, will suggest mutations in suboptimal or failed antibodies to develop improved candidates ready for clinical trials. AI-assisted systems can identify novel drug targets for various diseases and assist in the development of new treatments. The platform has the potential to improve efficiency of the current methods and reduce antibody discovery process time and cost by more than 50%. While the focus is on antibody screening and improvement in the short term, the company plans to develop their own antibody candidates in the mid and long term.
Aridni Shah, CEO and Co-founder, immunitoAI, said, “Integration of AI with Biology has become a reality today. Biology has always been difficult to study and understand, but with the use of AI, we have started to bridge the gaps and what was thought to be impossible earlier has become possible. Our vision is to make antibody therapy a norm with the help of our technology. We plan on using this seed funding to develop our AI products and validate the predictions through biological experiments.”
Commenting on the investment, Roopan Aulakh, Managing Director, pi Ventures said “Our focus at pi has been to invest in startups that are revolutionizing industries using disruptive technology. This thesis is well reflected in immunitoAI, our first investment from our recently launched Fund II. The company’s AI led platform will make antibody discovery process faster and cheaper, enabling targeted therapy for multiple diseases. We are delighted to partner with Aridni and Trisha, who bring a unique combination of biotech and AI to the table.”