How Insitro is applying machine learning to drug discovery
One of the most exciting and potentially revolutionary areas AI is impacting is medicine, whether that’s processing scans to catch markers doctors might miss or something as mundane as automating a hospital’s back-end.
AI for drug discovery
Insitro specialises in turning the power of machine learning onto the problem of drug discovery and development - traditionally a resource- and capital-intensive process that makes it exclusively the preserve of big pharma.
The San Francisco, California-based company seeks to upend that via data which is fed into predictive models. The company’s efforts are currently focused particularly on neuroscience and liver diseases - with machine learning used to carry out statistical genetics to discover targets with the most potential and aid in therapeutics design.
Revolutionary approach draws attention
Since its 2018 foundation, the company has raised across four funding rounds, with its latest Series C, announced yesterday, being its largest to date. The $400mn round was led by investing heavyweight the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, alongside a raft of others including Andreessen Horowitz, BlackRock, Temasek and Softbank Investment Advisors.
“The Insitro team has developed a powerful approach to drug discovery based on the wholesale application of machine learning to every phase of the process: target identification, lead discovery, and the elaboration of highly evolved therapeutic candidates,” Insitro board member Dr. Roger Perlmutter.
The company said it would use the funds to expand its platform and devote resources to databases.
“For Insitro, 2020 was a year of incredible growth and progress toward our founding vision of bringing the predictive powers of machine learning to drug discovery,” said Daphne Koller, Insitro’s founder and CEO. “This Series C financing, alongside our Series B in mid-2020, provides us with tremendous resources from some of the best long-term investors in biotech, and will allow us to continue to expand our work towards bringing transformative medicines to patients faster and with fewer failures.”
HPE Acquires Determined AI to Accelerate ML Training
Determined AI is a four-year-old company, which only brought its product to market in 2020. It specialises in machine learning (ML), with the aim of training AI models quickly and at any scale. HPE will combine Determined AI’s unique software solution with its AI and high-performance computing (HPC) offerings to enable ML engineers to easily implement and train ML models to provide faster and more accurate insights from their data in almost every industry.
“As we enter the Age of Insight, our customers recognise the need to add machine learning to deliver better and faster answers from their data,” said Justin Hotard, senior vice president and general manager, HPC and Mission Critical Solutions (MCS), HPE. “AI-powered technologies will play an increasingly critical role in turning data into readily available, actionable information to fuel this new era. Determined AI’s unique open source platform allows ML engineers to build models faster and deliver business value sooner without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure. I am pleased to welcome the world-class Determined AI team, who share our vision to make AI more accessible for our customers and users, into the HPE family.”
Delivery AI at scale
According to IDC, the accelerated AI server market, which plays an important role in providing targeted capabilities for image and data-intensive training, is expected to grow by 28% each year and reach $18bn by 2024.
The computing power of HPC is also increasingly being used to train and optimise AI models, in addition to combining with AI to augment workloads such as modeling and simulation. Intersect360 Research notes that the HPC market will grow by more than 40%, reaching almost $55bn in revenue by 2024.
“Over the last several years, building AI applications has become extremely compute, data, and communication intensive. By combining with HPE’s industry-leading HPC and AI solutions, we can accelerate our mission to build cutting edge AI applications and significantly expand our customer reach.” said Evan Sparks, CEO of Determined AI.