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Menten AI has an impressive founding team and a pitch that combines some of the hottest trends in tech to pursue one of the biggest problems in healthcare — new drug discovery. The company is also $4 million richer with a seed investment from firms including Uncork Capital and Khosla Ventures to build out its business.
Menten AI’s pitch to investors was the combination of quantum computing and machine learning to discover new drugs that sit between small molecules and large biologics, according to the company’s co-founder Hans Melo.
A graduate of the Y Combinator accelerator, which also participated in the round, Menten AI looks to design proteins from scratch. It’s a heavier lift than some might expect, because, as Melo said in an interview, it takes a lot of work to make an actual drug.
Menten AI is working with peptides, which are strings of amino acid chains similar to proteins that have the potential to slow aging, reduce inflammation, and get rid of pathogens in the body.
“As a drug modality [peptides] are quite new,” says Melo. “Until recently it was really hard to design them computationally and people tried to focus on genetically modifying them.”
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