Meta Pharmaceuticals is a Chinese Biotechnology company that has recently completed its pre-A and seed rounds. The company has managed to raise a substantial $15M investment for its autoimmune disease therapies being developed with the use of artificial intelligence (AI).
The company’s CEO and co-founder Xu Ke has research experience at a top cancer hospital in the U.S. and is a graduate of Weill Cornell Medicine.
Meta’s technology belongs to a field of therapies that is currently in the process of being developed, which is known as immuno-metabolism. This field combines the disciplines of immunology and metabolism and the method has been shown to lead to lesser drug-associated side effects as well as enhanced immune system response.
Meta Pharmaceuticals is a relatively new entrant into the Biotech market with less than a year of experience as a company. However, Meta was incubated by Xtalpi, which is an upstart based on AI-assisted drug development. Xtalpi has raised funding for an array of different companies apart from Meta, including Tencent, Forcefield Ventures, and Sequoia Capital China. The total funding raised by the company is close to $800M.
Xtalpi and Meta are working together to achieve common goals with Meta looking to Xtalpi to use their molecular design program (computer-assisted) on identified therapies. Meta then takes over the development of the drug as well as the clinical trials etc.
The company has stated that they have successfully been able to discover a large number of metabolic proteases with their AI technology. The technology has been able to discover and narrow down the identified proteases from thousands of possibilities. Currently, the data source for this process is public data however, the Biotech company has plans to source this data from patients as well as donors through colloboration with Chinese healthcare facilities.
Meta co-founder explained the plans of the company by stating that the company has various therapies in the works, for a wide range of medical diseases such as cancer but also autoimmune diseases.
Company representative said “Our pipeline has the potential to be used for treating a wide range of autoimmune problems, cancer and age-associated diseases,” while adding that “It’s still too early to share the specifics just yet or limit ourselves to one or two existing drugs and indications.”
Meta is based in Shenzhen in China but the company has plans to expand its reach across the globe, marketing its therapies internationally. The Meta headquarters is currently in a free-trade zone in the region which allows for support by the government through tax exemption for lab equipment that is imported. The innovation free-trade zone was established by the government in order to facilitate and encourage technological collaboration between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
Xtalpi is also based out of the same trade-free zone.
Meta was not the only company to capitalize on the interest in the introduction of machine learning in medicine. Immunai and Insilico having raised over $200M and 60M in the previous year for the same AI based drug discovery.