Monomer Bio secures $5.6M in funding to revolutionize and accelerate drug discovery using AI-powered lab automation

Traditional drug discovery is a slow, cumbersome, and expensive process. It relies heavily on trial and error, where researchers and scientists sift through numerous molecules, testing them against specific targets, hoping to stumble upon one that delivers the desired therapeutic effect. This method often involves physically screening substances in laboratories, which creates bottlenecks and limitations.

However, recent advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, and computer vision have transformed the landscape, significantly speeding up the drug discovery process. This is why investors are eagerly backing Monomer Bio, a San Francisco-based biotech startup that’s leveraging AI-powered lab automation to revolutionize and accelerate drug discovery.

Today, Monomer Bio announced it has raised $5.6 million in seed funding for its AI-ready lab automation and analytics platform designed to enhance the scale and complexity of drug and therapy exploration.

Talis Capital led the latest funding round for Monomer, joined by backers such as LifeX, Notley Ventures, and notable angels including Kevin Mahaffey and Amit Gupta, former exec at Benchling. The fresh capital injection will fuel Monomer’s expansion efforts and enhance its platform.

Supported by this funding, Monomer’s software is empowering researchers by providing them with AI-driven tools to advance cell and gene therapy and inform drug development. By integrating robotic lab automation with streamlined data management, Monomer allows scientists to conduct experiments on a larger scale and with greater complexity, facilitating the exploration of new drugs and therapies.

Founded by CEO Jimmy Sastra and CTO Mark Zhang, Monomer aims to simplify data management, analytics, and automation for scientists. Its comprehensive platform offers actionable insights powered by deep learning applications, including the ability to detect significant changes in cell morphology from microscopy images. Pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and research organizations are already benefiting from Monomer’s capabilities, with companies like Indee Labs experiencing significant increases in cell production.

Monomer’s platform is compatible with lab equipment from major manufacturers and features an intuitive interface for customized automation workflows. Leveraging their expertise in lab hardware and machine learning, Monomer’s team assists customers in optimizing their lab setups to meet specific requirements.

Monomer CEO Sastra emphasized that Monomer enables scientists to harness the benefits of lab automation and AI without the complexities of integrating different hardware and software systems.

“With Monomer, scientists can realize the benefits of lab automation and artificial intelligence, without having to deal with the headache of integrating disparate hardware and software systems. We are thrilled to partner with Talis Capital and our other investors who share our vision to transform biotech labs with modern software. This funding will allow us to empower many more scientists, in laboratories of all sizes, to harness the power of automation,” Sastra said.

Mark Zhang highlighted the platform’s ability to digitize analog lab processes, allowing researchers to focus on their work without being hindered by manual bottlenecks.

“Our goal is to eliminate manual bottlenecks in the lab, so that researchers can focus on their work. Monomer opens up new horizons by digitizing formerly analog lab processes, enabling customers to drastically expand the scale and complexity of their experiments,” Zhang stated.

Kirill Tashilov, General Partner at Talis Capital, led the funding round and highlighted Monomer’s significance in overcoming manual hurdles in cell and gene therapy research. He praised the platform for its user-friendly approach, which saves time, improves efficiency, and enhances research capabilities.

“Cell and gene therapy represents the future of drug development, but companies and research organizations still face hurdles in scaling up their capabilities due to reliance on error-prone manual work. Not only is Monomer’s platform purpose-built for complex cell engineering workflows, but its focus is on the scientists actually conducting this research. It saves time, improves throughput, and is really easy to use,” Kirill Tashilov, General Partner at Talis Capital, who led the funding said.