Enveda Raises $55M to Revolutionize Drug Discovery Using AI and Ancient Remedies

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Enveda Biosciences, a Boulder, Colorado-based biotech company, has raised $55 million in a Series B extension round to further its mission of discovering new medicines from natural sources using artificial intelligence. The latest funding round brings Enveda’s total capital to $230 million and includes new investors such as Microsoft, The Nature Conservancy, Premji Invest, and Lingotto Investment Fund, along with existing backers Kinnevik, True Ventures, FPV, Level Ventures, and Jazz Venture Partners.

Leveraging Ancient Knowledge with Modern Technology

Viswa Colluru, founder and CEO of Enveda, started the company in 2019 after leaving Recursion Pharmaceuticals. Enveda’s approach involves tapping into the vast repository of traditional knowledge on how plants have been used to treat diseases across different cultures. This includes analyzing digital information about the medicinal uses of plants, which led to the creation of a comprehensive database containing 38,000 medicinal plants linked to approximately 12,000 diseases and symptoms.

Colluru’s insight was that geographically separated cultures often used similar plants to treat similar ailments, revealing a vast, untapped source of potential medicines. Enveda’s AI-driven models analyze these plants to identify and prioritize compounds that could be developed into new drugs.

Advanced AI Models for Drug Discovery

Enveda’s AI models, particularly its transformer model, can decipher the “chemical language” of entire plant samples rather than focusing on individual molecules. This holistic approach allows the AI to predict which compounds are likely to be effective as medicines. Once promising plants are identified, Enveda tests the extracts using their proprietary AI technology.

Progress and Future Plans

The company’s innovative method is starting to yield results. Two of Enveda’s drug candidates—one for treating eczema and the other for inflammatory bowel diseases—are set to enter clinical trials later this year.

Strategic Partnerships and Investment

The fresh funding will enable Enveda to add strategic long-term partners to its cap table. Notably, Microsoft is contributing not just capital but also cloud credits to support Enveda’s technological infrastructure. Enveda plans to raise a Series C round later this year, following the initiation of its clinical trials.

A Unique Approach in a Growing Field

Enveda is one of the few companies harnessing AI to explore the medicinal potential of plants comprehensively. While much attention in the field has been on well-known natural sources like cannabis and psychedelics, Colluru emphasizes that these represent only a tiny fraction of the natural world’s chemical diversity. Enveda aims to explore a broader array of plants to discover a plethora of potential drugs.

Conclusion

Enveda Biosciences is at the forefront of a promising new approach to drug discovery, combining ancient medicinal knowledge with cutting-edge AI technology. With substantial backing from prominent investors and strategic partners, the company is well-positioned to make significant advancements in the field of biomedicine, potentially bringing new, effective treatments to market.

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