China Life leads $46m funding in Google-backed biotech startup XtalPi

Visual from XtalPi's website.

China Life Healthcare Fund, the first flagship healthcare private equity fund of China Life, has led the $46-million funding round in XtalPi, a Google-backed biotech startup that integrates quantum physics and artificial intelligence in drug research and development.

In a statement, XtalPi said, its Series B-1 extension financing was also supported by SIG and Yael Capital and followed its original Series B round that raised $15 million from Sequoia China, Google, and Tencent.

The fresh funding, which brings XtalPi’s total funds raised to over $66 million, will be utilised to support the startup’s market growth and expand the application of its technology into new areas of pharma research.

Specifically, XtalPi said the new financing will expand the development of its AI applications for critical steps of drug research and development that expedite the drug discovery process.

The startup also seeks to upgrade its Intelligent Digital Drug Discovery and Development (ID4) platform with cloud computing power and data security in order to offer highly customized solutions to meet the particular needs of pharmaceutical companies.

“We want to open our base solution platform to support other developers of drug research and development algorithms. Through this, we will help global pharmaceutical companies connect with a wide range of the latest AI research tools in an easily accessible way,” said XtalPi co-founder and chairman of the board Shuhao Wen.

Founded in 2014 by a group of quantum physicists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, XtalPi is composed of a team with multi-disciplinary expertise in physics, chemistry, pharmaceutical R&D, and algorithm design.

In January, XtalPi closed its Series B funding round of $15 million led by Sequoia China, with participation from Google and existing investor Tencent.

The deal was the first co-investment by Google and Tencent since the two companies revealed that they have signed a patent sharing agreement, paving the way for cooperation between the two firms.

Last May, the company announced a strategic research collaboration with Pfizer to develop a hybrid physics- and artificial intelligence-powered software platform for accurate molecular modeling of drug-like small molecules.

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China: Pharma startup XtalPi raises $15m led by Sequoia, joined by Google, Tencent

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.