Insilico signs $200M AI drug discovery partnership with China's CTFH

Shortly after publishing a paper demonstrating how its artificial intelligence programs could generate viable lead compounds in just a few weeks, Insilico Medicine has signed a dual-program discovery collaboration with Jiangsu Chia Tai Fenghai Pharmaceutical worth up to $200 million.

Focused on previously undruggable targets in triple-negative breast cancer, the deal includes an upfront payment along with potential milestones and sales-based royalties pegged to any eventual products.

“We are very pleased to establish the partnership with Insilico Medicine, entering the new era of AI-enabled drug development,” Wenyu Xia, general manager of the China-based pharma company, said in a statement. “We look forward to a long-term partnership with Insilico Medicine.”

The company is a joint venture between the Chia-Tai Group, also known as CP Pharmaceutical, and the Jiangsu Agriculture Reclamation Group. With its R&D, production and sales backgrounds, it has developed several finished dosages and active pharmaceutical ingredients spanning gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, neuropsychological and oncology areas.

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In early September, Insilico showed it could conceptualize 30,000 novel small molecules using its machine learning approach, narrow them down to six potential candidates for a fibrosis target and then test them preclinically in less than 50 days. The company's paper was published in Nature Biotechnology.

Additionally, Insilico recently raised $37 million in a series B round to fuel more AI-based pharma partnerships from China-based Qiming Venture Partners alongside participation from Eight Roads, F-Prime Capital, Lilly Asia Ventures, Sinovation Ventures, Baidu Ventures, Deep Knowledge Ventures and more.

Insilico said it plans to use the proceeds to build out its senior management with biotech industry veterans to help drive collaborations in therapeutic programs covering cancer, immunology, fibrosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and central nervous system conditions.