Deep Genomics Lands $13M on Promise of AI's Future in Medicine

Why the Canadian genetic medicine startup Deep Genomics earned the money.

A group of investors is betting $13 million that the startup Deep Genomics’ high-tech brand of genetic medicine will prove a game changer.

Khosla Ventures announced yesterday its backing of the Toronto, Ontario-based company, joining the early-stage investment firm True Ventures. Funders hope the money will aid Deep Genomics in its quest to build a “biologically accurate data- and AI-driven platform” that will ultimately help scientists reach medicine’s cutting edge, according to the announcement.

“We believe that the technology developed at Deep Genomics puts them in a unique position to identify new therapies,” Vinod Khosla, founding partner, said in a statement. “Because of the quality of their science and engineering team and the deep integration of their AI technology into their preclinical drug development pipeline, we are confident that a very large potential exists here.”

Specifically, over the next 3 years, the startup intends for its platform to foster the creation of new anti-sense oligonucleotide therapies. Its AI will then groom those treatments for clinical evaluation, finding preclinical candidates along the way.

One of Deep Genomics’ endeavors, a project called Saturn, is designed to comb through 69 billion molecules to compile a library of 1,000 compounds capable of manipulating cell biology, according to the company.

Khosla Ventures knows a thing or two about tech—and healthcare. Its portfolio includes Climate Corporation, Editas Medicine, Guardant Health, and Square.

“Khosla Ventures is well aligned with our mission to build a new kind of world-class genetic medicine company,” Brendan Frey, CEO and scientific founder of Deep Genomics, said in a statement. “A company whose founding principle is that the future of medicine will rely on artificial intelligence, because biology is too complex for humans to understand.”

But the humans who make up Deep Genomics come with quite a bit of understanding of AI. Founded in 2015, the company boasts a staff with more than 20 advanced degrees from schools like Cambridge, MIT and Stanford.

Its laboratory sits in Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS, which nurtures similar companies on the verge of healthcare and tech.