Chinese pharmaceutical tech firm XtalPi nets $319m in Series C round

XtalPi integrates quantum physics and AI to create computational drug discovery and development applications that accurately predict important drug properties of small molecules. Source: XtalPi

XtalPi Inc, a Chinese pharmaceutical firm that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate the development of new drugs, announced on Monday that it has garnered $318.8 million in a Series C round of financing.

The Series C round was jointly led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, PICC Capital, an alternative investment platform of Chinese government-owned insurer PICC Group, and Chinese early-stage venture capital firm Morningside Venture Capital.

Founded in 2014 by a group of quantum physicists at MIT, XtalPi leverages AI and cloud-computing algorithms to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and success rate of drug research and development

Shenzhen-based XtalPi has developed the Intelligent Digital Drug Discovery and Development (ID4) platform, which provides predictions on the physicochemical and pharmaceutical properties of small-molecule candidates for drug design, solid-form selection, and other critical aspects of drug development.

Apart from the three lead investors, a slew of global institutional investors participated in the Series C round, including CICC Capital, the private equity arm of investment bank China International Capital Corporation (CICC); an investment fund of CMB International (CMBI), which is affiliated to commercial bank China Merchants Bank; and Seoul-based financial services firm Mirae Asset.

Alternative investment manager CITIC Capital; Shunwei Capital, which is backed by smartphone brand Xiaomi’s co-founder Lei Jun; Hong Kong-based investment firm Oceanpine Capital; Foursquare Capital; and IMO Ventures, which mainly makes seed investment across China and the US, and others also backed the deal.

XtalPi’s earlier investors, such as Tencent; Sequoia Capital China; China Life Private Equity Investment, an equity investment platform of Beijing-based insurer China Life Insurance; SIG China, the China team of US-based global trading and broker-dealer firm SIG, re-upped in the investment.

Ten Years on Measuring the Return from Pharmaceutical Innovation (2019). Source: Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions

Proceeds of the new round will be used to further develop XtalPi’s ID4 platform, in an attempt to build an AI-powered digital drug R&D infrastructure based on “computing power, algorithms and big data” to serve global pharmaceutical and biotech companies, said the company.

By far, the firm has served over 70 drugmakers across the US, Europe, China and Japan. With the headquarters located in Shenzhen, XtalPi also operates across offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Boston.

XtalPi had closed $46 million in a Series B1 round led by China Life Healthcare Fund in October 2018, following a $15-million Series B round backed by Sequoia Capital China, Google and Tencent in January 2018.

In late 2015, it had raised a $5-million Series A round from Tencent. Prior to that, Chinese social networking service Renren had led its seed investment.

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.