Belfast-based Amply raises £1.4m in grant funding to develop dug discovery platform

Company describes its AI platform as ‘ChatGPT for molecule discovery’

Belfast company Amply Discovery has raised £1.4 million in grant funding to help develop new drugs to tackle diseases such as cancer through its AI powered drug discovery platform.

The company is using its drug discovery platform to make finding new drugs for treating cancer, infectious diseases and metabolic disorders cheaper and more predictable. Amply describes its AI platform as “ChatGPT for molecule discovery”. Synthetic biology is used to synthesise and validate the AI-discovered candidates in a real-world setting.

The Queen’s University Belfast spinout, which is preparing for a seed investment round later this year, has won funding for two programmes, one dealing with RNAi therapies for cancers such as acute myeloid leukaemia, and a second to help fight drug resistant lung infections.

“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 chief executive Dr Ben Thomas.

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Chief operating officer Dermot Tierney said the new drug discovery studio and funding would “significantly enhance” Amply’s pipeline of license-ready assets.

Amply was established in 2021 to commercialise an innovative drug discovery platform developed by researchers in the School of Biological Science at Queen’s. It raised pre-seed funding in May 2022.

It existing investors include Co-fund NI, 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).

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist