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Brendan Frey, the founder and chief executive of Deep Genomics, thinks the wrong people are developing new drugs to treat genetic diseases. In fact, he doesn’t think humans should be doing most of the work.

It’s Frey’s view that the next wave of medicines will be discovered using artificial intelligence, and he has support from big investors to create a company that could do that: Deep Genomics on Wednesday announced a $180 million funding round led by Softbank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Fidelity Management & Research Company and others, bringing its total venture haul to $240 million.


Frey, a Toronto-based pioneer in artificial intelligence research, saw in the early 2000s that researchers were unlocking vast amounts of data about the human genome, but biologists were not able to efficiently use it to make new drugs. He thought the process of analyzing the data — using it to discover drug targets, understand gene mutations, and predict outcomes — would be better suited for artificial intelligence, a computerized system that would improve over time.

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