Kuano raises £1.8M to accelerate quantum drug discovery

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Photo: PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay

Kuano, a drug discovery company combining quantum mechanics with AI to design the next generation of medicines, has closed its £1.8 million seed funding round.

The round was led by Mercia Ventures, and included ACF Investors, Ascension Ventures, o2h Ventures, Meltwind Advisory LLP, and other Angel investors. The investment will facilitate further validation of Kuano’s quantum simulation platform for the design of more effective drug candidates targeting enzymes, as well as continued company growth through strategic partnerships and recruitment.

Dysfunctional enzymes are implicated in many human diseases and are therefore a prevalent target in today’s drug market. However, until now scientists have only been able to view enzymes in their ‘resting’ state, and not in their fully functioning ‘dynamic’ states. As different enzymes may appear very similar in a resting state, drugs designed to target one may also affect others, potentially impacting drug safety and efficacy.

Kuano’s quantum simulation platform enables scientists to see and model enzymes in their dynamic state, opening new possibilities for more effective drug design.

Combining these unique enzyme profiles with its suite of AI tools, Kuano can then predict the best structures with which to target them. Drug candidates designed this way are a precise match to the target enzyme, meaning that they are therefore likely to be more potent with fewer side effects. The platform has already been validated in three separate disease areas, including bowel cancer and lymphoma.

“Enzymes play a wide-ranging role in disease, but current technologies are unable to develop drugs to tackle most of them. Our team at Kuano recognised the need to overcome these limitations,” Vid Stojevic, co-founder and CEO, Kuano, said.

“Our platform creates a ‘quantum lens’ that reveals the difference between enzymes and allows us to target each one individually, without affecting the others. This funding round will not only allow us to continue our laboratory work, but also to strengthen our management team and prepare the Company for scaling.”

Kuano was co-founded in 2020 by Vid Stojevic, an expert in quantum physics and AI, David Wright, who specialises in molecular modelling and simulation, Parminder Ruprah, a ‘drug hunter’, and Jarryl D’Oyley, a computational medicinal chemist. The latest seed funding brings the total investment raised by Kuano to date to £2.8 million. In this round, Mercia was investing from its EIS funds, and Kuano was advised by venture capital advisory firm KPMG Acceleris.

Jim Cornall is editor of Deeptech Digest and publisher at Ayr Coastal Media. He is an award-winning writer, editor, photographer, broadcaster, designer and author. Contact Jim here.