SINGAPORE (Jan 31): A biotech company with offices in Singapore and San Francisco, Engine Biosciences, says it has secured US$10 million ($13.1 million) in seed funding from both American and Asian investors.

The heavily-oversubscribed seed round makes it the largest seed financing recorded in Southeast Asia, and one of the largest in Asia in the tech and biotech industries, according to Engine.

It was co-led by Silicon Valley’s Danhua Capital (DHVC) and 6 Dimensions Capital, a healthcare investment group formed through the merger of Frontline Bioventures and Wuxi Healthcare Ventures.

The seed round also saw participation from Temasek Holdings subsidiary Pavilion Capital as well as the Singapore Economic Development Board’s investment arm, EDBI. Other investors include Wuxi AppTec, Baidu Ventures, WI Harper and Nest.Bio Ventures.

In in a press release on Tuesday, Engine says it intends to use its latest round of funds to build its drug discovery platform; expand its scientific and executive in both Singapore and San Francisco; and pursue preclinical studies internally and with partners.

Caption for image above: Accelerating the development of novel therapies using proprietary, large-scale experimentation

The group’s data drug discovery platform combines biological experimentation with artificial intelligence (AI) to discover and develop better therapies for complex human diseases, and aims to drive orders-of-magnitude gains in speed and scale for such studies.

By understanding and testing genetic interactions in parallel and using machine learning and deep-learning algorithms to analyse the resulting data, Engine says it can, with its platform, decipher biological networks and enable more rational drug discovery.

To date, the company’s technology is being applied across four areas: drug repositioning, which applies known drugs to novel indications; new target discovery, which identifies biological factors that underlie disease; precision medicine enablement to support unique treatments based on a patient’s particular genetic makeup; and pathway analysis.

Engine has also achieved proof-of-concept and has active programmes across various disease indications, including in cancer, neurodegeneration, autoimmune, and skin.

“Engine’s data-driven platform allows researchers to not only uncover the critical gene interactions underlying diseases, but also test therapies that specifically target these interactions in a faster, cheaper and more precise fashion than currently possible,” says Engine’s co-founder and CEO, Jeffrey Lu.

“We are also honoured to have a group of internationally renowned investors with deep domain expertise both in biotech and artificial intelligence, validating our approach and supporting our vision,” he adds.