Sunday, July 14, 2024
HomeStart UpAI startup EvolutionaryScale raises $142M to advance tech in biology 

AI startup EvolutionaryScale raises $142M to advance tech in biology 

EvolutionaryScale, a company developing artificial intelligence for biology, announced a massive $142 million seed funding round on Tuesday. The round was led by a team including Nat Friedman, Daniel Gross, and Lux Capital.

Big names in the tech world also joined in, with both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and NVIDIA’s venture capital arm contributing to the funding.

Highlighting the potential breakthrough, Josh Wolfe, co-founder and managing partner at Lux Capital, compared EvolutionaryScale’s achievement to a “ChatGPT moment for biology.” He explained that the company has built the first-ever large language model designed specifically for creating new proteins and other biological systems.

EvolutionaryScale has ambitious plans for its AI, according to the company’s chief scientist, Alex Rives. He told Reuters they envision a future where this AI can be used for many purposes. These applications include speeding up the discovery of new drugs and even engineering microbes that can break down plastic pollution in our environment.

The field of using AI to design new biological systems is exploding with potential. This is evident by the recent partnership between Microsoft-backed OpenAI and French drugmaker Sanofi. Announced in May, this collaboration aims to leverage AI to accelerate Sanofi’s drug development process. EvolutionaryScale’s funding round further highlights the excitement surrounding this innovative approach.

While the potential of AI for biology is undeniable, there are also concerns. Experts have warned about the possibility of generative AI being misused to create bioweapons. This could involve the AI assisting in the development of dangerous pathogens or toxins.

To focus on future advancements, EvolutionaryScale plans to invest its funding to train even more powerful AI models in the next generation and to build a strong team to collaborate with the biotech industry, according to Alex Rives. This partnership will be crucial for putting their AI to practical use.

The company is releasing a series of models called ESM3. There’s a smaller version available for free to researchers (non-commercial use only). Additionally, AWS and NVIDIA are teaming up to make the models, including the most powerful one, commercially available. This means businesses can access this technology to drive innovation.

In a groundbreaking feat, EvolutionaryScale used its ESM3 model to design a completely new fluorescent protein. This is significant because, according to the company, it would have taken nature a staggering 500 million years to evolve something similar. This achievement highlights the immense potential of ESM3 to accelerate biological advancements.

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BRL Editor
BRL Editor
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