11 Aug, 2022
1 min time to read

Prosperity7, the venture capital arm of Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco, led the new Series D investment in Hong Kong-based drug discovery and development company Insilico.

Previously, the fund has been actively scouring for opportunities in and around China that can scale globally and particularly in the Middle East. With its R&D teams operating in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and New York, Insilico is a perfect fit for Prosperity7.

The firm has raised additional $35 million after receiving $60 million in June, which brings its total Series D investment to $95 million. In a conversation with TechCrunch, the firm’s founder and CEO Alex Zhavoronkov said that the new round was “oversubscribed”,  but still declined to disclose the company’s valuation.

Insilico uses machine learning to identify potential drug targets and eventually create the drug. The same technology can also be applied to find novel and useful molecules for the so-called 'sustainable chemistry', a new area for scientific research to which Aramco has devoted much effort.

Sustainable chemistry adresses the issue of the most efficient use of natural resources to produce chemical products. It encompasses the design, manufacture, and use of efficient, effective, safe and more environmentally benign chemical products and processes.

Zhavoronkov compared the drug discovery space to the early semiconductor industry where research was done mostly in the U.S. while hardware production happened in China. Namely, the city of Wuxi has in recent years emerged as a popular contract research organizations (CRO) hub for international pharma companies. CROs provide support to pharmaceutical or medical device companies in the form of outsourcing, which demands much investment.