BioTech firm LabGenius has closed an oversubscribed £11.62 ($15m) extension round, led by investor Atomico, to support the company’s mission to improve the discovery process for new protein therapeutics.

The firm is developing the process through its EVA platform, which integrates technologies drawn from the fields of machine learning, robotic automation and synthetic biology.

Headquartered in London, its team includes experts in protein engineering, synthetic biology, software engineering, data science and robotic automation.

The additional capital brings the company’s total Series A funding to $25m and will be used to increase investment in the underlying technology platform and product pipeline.

As part of this financing, Atomico Partner Irina Haivas will join the board.

Since the first protein therapeutic was approved almost 40 years ago, this class of molecules has been used to treat both life-threatening conditions like cancer and chronic diseases like diabetes.

The firm claims protein therapeutics represent 30% of total pharmaceutical sales, but  getting one new protein therapeutic to market costs the industry in excess of a billion pounds and can take more than a decade.

The firm hopes its machine learning-driven platform will make the discovery of protein therapeutics faster and yield novel drugs that would not have been found using traditional methods.

James Field, founder and CEO of LabGenius said: “To add a fund of Atomico’s calibre and reputation to our investor base is a huge win for LabGenius. Atomico’s operational experience is second to none and they are the perfect partner to help us scale a global company from Europe.

“In addition, the confidence that Lux, Obvious, Kindred and Inovia have demonstrated in doubling down in this round reflects the tremendous technical progress that the team has made over the past 12 months.”

Irina Haivas, Partner at Atomico added: “The human and economic toll of COVID-19 makes it painfully obvious that we need a faster and better way to develop drugs. R&D in the industry reached a productivity bottleneck many years ago; the only way forward is through technology.

LabGenius is taking on the task of applying software and engineering to biology, and doing this in an area of high complexity: proteins. We believe they have the best technical approach, and have been impressed by the team’s ability to execute and attract incredible talent”.