Insilico Medicine is a biotech startup that has been making the news recently because of its innovative use of technology to research and develop drugs for the treatment of age-related illnesses and diseases. The company has recently raised millions in funding for its continued development and expansion. If you've not yet heard of this disruptive biotech enterprise, here are 20 things you probably didn't know about Insilico Medicine to bring you up to speed.
1. Insilico Medicine is a young facility
According to Wikipedia, Insilico Medicine has only been in existence for seven years. It's still a young startup, but in the short time it's been in operation, there have been many advances made in the field of biotech. The company was founded by Alex Zhavoronkov, a Ph.D. with a lengthy list of academic credentials and experience in the biotech research and development industry. The headquarters for the facility is located in Pak Shek Kok, Hong Kong, in the Science Park close to the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
2. Insilico Medicine provides humane testing alternatives
The methods of research and development that Insilico Medicine employs, bypass the traditional use of animals in testing. Instead, the team relies on the use of information, analysis, and technology. This means that no animals are harmed in the processes that are used to identify and develop the drugs used to treat human subjects.
3. Insilico uses technology to determine a drug's effect on humans
Insilico has developed research and technology combinations to arrive at methods that use artificial intelligence and deep learning techniques to analyze various compounds and to determine how they will affect human cells. They've also discovered processes that identify specific drugs that will perform the best in treating certain conditions. Their methods can also predict any possible side effects before testing is ever performed on a live subject. This is a breakthrough technology in biotech that is humane but also provides for safer administration of treatments in humans.
4. The Phara.AI division of Insilico caters to the skincare industry
The main focus of Insilico Medicine is to conduct research and development for treatments for regenerative medicine and tackling issues faced by the elderly, but it is a diverse company that has many different facets. One of them is the Pharma AI division that uses machine learning services. It offers this technology to a variety of biotech and pharmaceutical companies. It also serves a variety of skincare companies. The scope of Insilico Medical is broad.
5. Insilico Medicine has developed new biotechnologies
Part of the research and development focus of Insilico is directed toward the development of new technologies. They've been working together in collaboration with other companies to create a next-generation of artificial intelligence technologies that combine reinforcement learning. One such application is the generative adversarial network with works with Harvard's Alan Apuru Guzik group to develop an improved GAN structure that generates novel molecular structures with properties that are created by the technicians. They've produced a differential neural computer as well.
6. Insilico Medicine is a distinguished company
NVIDIA named Insilico to its list of the top five artificial intelligence companies in 2017. The organization cited that Insilico has a tremendous potential to make a positive social impact on the world. The implications for the discoveries made through its research are improved health for the masses along with greater precision in predicting how certain drugs will interact with the biological systems of individuals at a cellular level.
7. Insilico Medicine is an award-winning company
NVIDIA recognized Insilico Medicine's tremendous potential for delivering positive impacts for the improved health of people throughout the world. An award was given in the form of a 2017 addition to its list of the top five biotech companies in the world with the potential to make a huge impact in this area. The accolade was well-deserved. Each year since that time, Insilico has made steady progress in the development of new technologies and making new drug discoveries that are already in use.
8. Insilico Medicine is a versatile company with a broad scope
According to Crunchbase, Insilico Medicine is listed across five different industries because of the breadth of its services. It is a big player in the development of new artificial intelligence technologies. It is also actively involved with research and development in biotechnology, genetics, healthcare, and pharmaceutical fields.
9. The scope of treatment potentials is immense
The research and development that is conducted by Insilico Medicine go beyond developing new technology or treating age-related health conditions. It extends into all aspects of healthcare management and drug therapies. Finding drugs or drug combinations that have few side effects and maximum effect on combatting diseases is one of the most exciting impacts of the work. Insilico's scientists are working hard to develop drugs that will battle Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, ALS, cancer, dermatological conditions, and much more.
10. Insilico Medicine has a small executive leadership team
There are just four members on the executive leadership team of Insilico Medicine. Alex Zhavoronkov is the founder and also serves as the chief executive officer. Qingsong Zhu is the chief operations officer. Alex Aliper is the President of EMEA and Polina Mamoshina is the research scientist at the executive level. Although the group is small in number, each member is a high-ranking, impressively qualified professional with expertise in the biotech industry. Together, these leaders have helped to move Insilico Medicine in a positive direction. They've achieved a high measure of success which speaks well of the leadership of the organization as a whole as well as the positive contributions of each individual on the team.
11. Insilico Medicine has a 3-member board of directors
There are just three people on the board of directors for Insicico Medicine. Like the executive leadership team, the advisory group is composed of experts in the business who bring a great deal of experience and knowledge to the table. Kristen Fortney joined the Insilico board in 2014 as an advisor. She is the chief executive officer and co-founder of BioAge Labs, a California startup. Min Fang is the executive director of the Warburg Pincus firm. Nisa Leung is a managing partner at Qiming Venture Partners. She currently serves on 27 different boards in an advisory capacity. She is an investor who offers her advice and input for the direction of the company, along with the other skilled professionals who make up this small but powerful group.
12. Insilico Medicine is a venture capital-backed startup
Insilico Medicine has been successful in raising several hundred million in funding from venture capital investors. So far, the company has raised $306 million across nine funding rounds. This puts it in the category of a late-stage VC company. The most recent round of funding closed on June 22, 2021, in a Series C round of funding.
13. Investor confidence in Insilico Medicine is high
The progress that Insilico Medicine has made to date is enough to boost the confidence of large VC investors in its likelihood of producing a decent return on investments. Four lead investors have taken charge of organizing the investment events with a total of 27 investors putting their faith in the success of the startup with funding. Investors include B Capital Group, Mirae Asset Capital, Sage Partners, Sinovation Ventures, Baidu Ventures, OrbiMed, Bold Capital Partners, Lily Asia Ventures, Lake Bleu Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, and several others. This is a large collection of powerful investors who are interested in seeing that Insilico Medicine has the funding necessary to continue to grow its infrastructure and to expand its operations in the research and development of new powerful and effective drugs.
14. Insilico Medicine has a small workforce
According to LinkedIn, the workforce currently employed at Insilico Medicine is just 94 members. This is a mirror of the small size of the executive leadership team and the board of directors. Insilico believes in hiring the best qualified and sharpest staff, who are highly capable of delivering quality research and development. The company is run lean without bogging down the operations with unnecessary positions. It's not exactly a bootstrapped operation, but they do lean towards frugality when it comes to the workforce.
15. Insilico Medicine is hiring
When browsing through the job listings for Insilico, we saw that there are currently four job openings with the company. It appears that the company is beefing up its operations in Pudong, Shanghai, China. They're actively searching for a Marketing and Public Relations Manager, a Director of New Company Incubation, a Senior Software Product Manager for Bioinformatics, and an Application Scientist. This is a big team for Insilico as it is accustomed to running on a lean network of staffing. It will be interesting to hear more about the Pudong office and its accomplishments in the future.
16. Insilico Medicine staff share their knowledge
Insilico Medicine is a research-based company that engages in collaborations with other professionals to enhance the results of its R&D. The company maintains good transparency and regularly engages at the top conferences held in the industry to share its findings. Many papers and academic journal articles have been written with the findings of the research. This is a company that is in the business for all of the right reasons. Staff is willing to work with others for the good of all
17. Insilico Medicine won a Frost & Sullivan Award
In 2018, Insilico Medicine was recognized as one of the top 100 companies in the Artificial Intelligence sector of the tech industry by CB Insights. This was followed by yet another award the same year, given by Frost & Sullivan. It was named as the recipient of the North American Artificial Intelligence for Aging Research and Drug Development Award. The award was also accompanied by the industry brief. The accolades keep rolling in for Insilico Medicine because of its innovative technologies across multiple industry sectors.
18. Insilico is growing
Although the numbers of the company's workforce are small, the statistics show some change. They confirm that the firm is experiencing positive growth in headcount. The overall percentage of workers at Insilico Medicine has increased by thirteen percent. The increase has taken place over the past six months. Insilico is particular about hiring the right people for the job as they tend to get a lot done with few resources.
19. The median tenure at Insilico is low
We were interested in knowing more about the retention rates for Insilico Medical. With a workforce numbering well below 100 persons, they appear to run a tight ship with limited staff. While this can benefit those conducting the research and development operations, it can also result in a heavy workload for those on the front lines. We couldn't find any detailed information about the work environment or the company culture, but it is apparent that this is a dynamic group that keeps things lean. The median tenure for employees is 1.7 years. This discovery reveals that there is a high turnover rate for the facility. It's unclear whether this is due to short project hires or staff experiencing burnout from a lack of adequate staffing. At any rate, it was good to see they're hiring.
20. You won't find Insilco Medicine on the stock exchange
Insilico Medicine is not a publicly traded company. At least, not yet. The startup is doing well with its VC backing so far. After we gleaned the current news about the enterprise, we found no discussions suggesting plans to file for an IPO. For now, you won't see shares listed for public trading, and investment opportunities lie within the VC arena. Still, Insilco Medicine is a company to keep your eye on. You never know when it might become beneficial for the owner to decide to go public.
Written by Dominique Scappucci
Read more posts by Dominique Scappucci