Unlearn seems to have retained a lesson or two about fundraising: The digital twin developer announced this week that it has raised another $50 million, echoing its last funding round two years ago.
The series C was led by Altimeter Capital, with additional support from many of the backers that had previously joined in on Unlearn’s early 2022 series B round, including that round’s leader, Insight Partners, as well as 8VC, DCVC and DCVC Bio, among others.
The new funding brings Unlearn’s lifetime fundraising total to more than $130 million. It will be invested across the company, helping build out its staff, computing power and long-term R&D projects, the latter of which includes “[expanding] our capabilities into more therapeutic areas to build awareness and prove the value,” CEO Charles Fisher, Ph.D., said in Thursday’s announcement.
Unlearn’s AI analyzes patient health records to build a model for each participant in a clinical trial, then use the digital doppelganger to predict how each patient would fare if given the placebo treatment in the trial.
According to the company, researchers who incorporate Unlearn’s predictions for the experimental group’s digital twins can therefore reduce the number of participants assigned to a separate control group. In addition to allowing more patients to receive potentially beneficial experimental treatments, Unlearn claims its technology also helps speed up enrollment and the overall trial timeline, accelerating the time it can take to bring a new drug to market.
So far, the startup has received a qualification from the European Medicines Agency allowing its digital twins to be used in phase 2 and 3 trials, and it has also secured the FDA’s agreement that its AI-powered approach aligns with current regulatory guidance for stateside clinical trials.
“Pharmaceutical companies are spending over $100 billion dollars a year on clinical research, yet the industry remains skeptical about new technology that has the power to truly transform research,” Fisher said. “Breaking down these barriers and proving the value of digital twin technology continues to be a main driver for us at Unlearn.”
Unlearn has several lookalikes in the digital twin space. One fellow up-and-comer is Twin Health, which, coincidentally, recently closed a $50 million funding round of its own.
In contrast to Unlearn’s trial-focused approach, Twin Health’s digital twin technology is meant to be used as a digital therapeutic. Its Whole Body Digital Twin service uses AI to analyze a user’s health records, wearable sensor data and questionnaire answers to churn out recommendations for improving their metabolic health.
One-year results of a study published late last year showed that Twin Health’s tech could significantly improve the health of people with Type 2 diabetes: After a year, the 232 people who received the AI-powered plan saw their average HbA1c levels drop from a starting point of 9% down to 6.1%, compared to a decrease of just one-third of a percentage point for the 84 members of the standard-of-care group.