Friday, 26 April, 2024

Yoneda Labs raises $4M to build foundation model for chemists

Yoneda Labs, the startup building a foundation model for chemists working in drug discovery, announced it has raised $4 million in seed capital from Khosla Ventures, 500 Emerging Europe, 468 Capital, and Y Combinator. 

More than 400,000 chemists are working on chemical manufacturing around the world. While scientists have begun to leverage AI in the discovery and design of drugs, the chemists whose job it is to synthesize the drugs are forced to run trials in wet labs without much, if any, automation, simulation tools, or other computational support. As a result, the pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing industries waste billions of dollars on failed chemical experiments each year. 

“When a chemist wants to couple two molecules together, they are left to old-school literature search and trial-and-error methods in a lab,” said Michal Mgeladze-Arciuch, founder and CEO of Yoneda Labs. “At Yoneda, our vision is to build a foundation AI model that analyzes and predicts what will happen before a chemist has to run their experiment. This would increase their productivity by an order of magnitude and potentially enable the creation of new drugs that isn’t currently possible to do cost-effectively at scale.” 

“Machine learning and generative AI models have already begun to accelerate physics-oriented fields like aerospace engineering,” said Jon Chu, partner at Khosla Ventures. “Chemistry will be no different and the team at Yoneda Labs has a novel approach to creating a foundation model for chemistry that could change the way chemicals are manufactured and improve the drug discovery process.”