AMPLY Discovery has raised over £1.4 million in grant funding to develop new drug products using its AI-driven drug discovery platform.

The company, which is a spinout from the Queen’s University Belfast, was established in 2021 to commercialise an innovative drug discovery platform developed by researchers in the School of Biological Science at Queen’s.

AMPLY is powering the discovery of cures for cancer, metabolic and infectious diseases through AI and synthetic biology, making the discovery of new drugs more predictable and less expensive. Its technology platform has been the subject of more than a decade of research and development.

The company is currently focused on two flagship R&D programmes which will provide technical validation for its development platform. The first programme, focused on RNAi therapies to tackle highly genetically mediated cancers, has been awarded £835,000 by Innovate UK and Innosuisse to develop a new RNAi therapy for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.

The second programme, focused on inhaled antimicrobial therapies to fight multi-drug resistant (MDR) lung infections, has been awarded £602,000 by Innovate UK to develop a new nebulised antimicrobial product for MDR-TB.

AMPLY raised its initial pre-seed funding in May 2022 and is planning to raise a further £1.4m in a full seed funding round in the second quarter of 2024. The company said the new grant awards further demonstrate the progress it is making towards building a new type of highly efficient platform for drug discovery.

“This new funding will further help AMPLY to realise its ambition of democratising the discovery of new therapeutics by building a transformative Drug Discovery Studio which leverages the raw power of evolution to unearth new medicines from nature’s huge untapped reservoir,” said Dr Ben Thomas, CEO and co-founder.

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The company’s unique AI platform is described as ‘ChatGPT for molecule discovery’, with amino acids and oligonucleotides as its building blocks. Synthetic biology is used to synthesise and validate these AI-discovered candidates in a real-world setting.

AMPLY works with a network of disease and BioTech partners to help advance its programs: its MDR-TB project is a collaboration with St George’s University London and its AML project is being run with a Swiss-based partner.

Dermot Tierney, chief operating officer and co-founder said: “As a drug discovery studio which discovers and develops de novo first-in-class drug candidates for downstream out-licensing this funding will significantly enhance our pipeline of licence-ready assets.”

AMPLY’s existing investors include Co-fund NI, which is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers and supported by Invest NI and the British Business Bank, QUBIS Limited, the Helix Way Partnership, Techstars, and angel investment from members of the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN).

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