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IndustryArtificial intelligence
Health care
FoundedNovember 13, 2013
Key people
Brent Gutekunst, Ivan Griffin, Ken Mulvany, Michael Brennan, CEO, Baroness Joanna Shields
Number of employees
200 – 250

BenevolentAI is a UK-based artificial intelligence company. They operate under the mission to change the way medicine is designed, developed, tested, and delivered to the market using computational medicine and AI technology.[1] It is a fully integrated AI company with pharmaceutical discovery and clinical development capabilities.[2]

The company has developed the Benevolent Platform, a machine learning platform for drug discovery.[3] The Benevolent Platform ingests and analyses unstructured and structured biomedical information, combines it with deep learning to create a bioscience knowledge graph coupled with an automated platform for hypothesis generation and validation.[4]

Company history[edit]

BenevolentAI was founded in November 2013 by Ken Mulvany, and was initially known as Stratified Medical Ltd.[5] Initially the company focussed on the development of a cross-functional AI technology to incorporate basic science, chemistry and clinical components and to design a system that could ingest, read and contextualise the bioscience information.[6]

Throughout the course of 2014 and 2015 the technology was further developed to also reason and propose hypotheses to treat disease. By 2015, the company had raised $87 million in funding, including investors like Woodford Investment Management and Lansdowne Partners.[7] In 2015 BenevolentAI began to fully apply its technology to drug discovery and development and announced the appointment of Jackie Hunter to lead bioscience research at the company.[8]

During 2016 further early drug R&D programmes were established and an in-license deal completed with J&J for clinical stage drug candidates.[9] That year BenevolentAI also initiated their first full drug programmes for ALS.[10]

2017 saw the company file its first Investigational New Drug (IND) application. In February 2018, BenevolentAI acquired a Cambridge research facility in order to expand its capabilities across the entire drug discovery process. Two months later the company announced a further round of funding for $115 million.[11] In May of 2018, the company announced it had appointed Joanna Shields as CEO.[12]

The company is presently headquartered in London, with a research facility in Cambridge (UK) and additional offices based in New York and Belgium.[13] On keeping the company headquartered in London, founder Mulvany has said "There's a real opportunity to build a business in this country, and there's an opportunity for the country to lead this sector, and all the pieces are in place. We've got incredible scientists, incredible mathematicians, we're able to draw all these people into London."[14] BenevolentAI has active R&D drug programmes from discovery to PhaseIIb in disease areas such as ALS, Parkinson's, ulcerative colitis and sarcopenia.[15] Horizons Ventures advisor Bart Swanson is a board member; shareholders include Richard Farleigh, a high profile angel investor.[16]

It was reported in July 2019 that the company was seeking to raise money at a valuation significantly below the $2 billion it secured previously.[17] The company refuted the story saying that a valuation or term sheet had not yet been agreed on.[18]

Solutions and services[edit]

In 2016 BenevolentAI began using a deep learning supercomputer to assist in the process of drug discover with the DGX-1 supercomputer supporting its Judgment Augmented Correlation System (JACS).[19] Benevolent AI uses information generated by JACS to develop drugs[20]. The company has announced it is working with the Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience on a treatment for ALS.[21]

BenevolentAI Award[edit]

In 2017 BenevolentAI announced the creation of the BenevolentAI Award, in partnership with the Association of Medical Research Charities. The award allows the winner to access BenevolentAI's technology to accelerate medical research with an emphasis on artificial intelligence[22]

The winner of the 2018 award was a collaboration between the Parkinson's UK and The Cure Parkinson's Trust[23].

Awards and recognitions[edit]

  • CB Insights, "AI 100"[24]
  • Sunday Times Tech Track, "Ones to Watch"[25]
  • CPhI Awards Excellence in Pharma, "Pharma Company of the Year SME"[26]
  • The Europas, "Hottest AI Start-Up"[27]
  • CogX, "Best AI Product in Healthcare"[28]
  • World Economic Forum, "Technology Pioneer Status"[29]


  1. ^ "About Us". BenevolentAI. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  2. ^ "BenevolentAI Raises $115 Million to Extend Its Leading Global Position in the Field of AI Enabled Drug Development". PR Newswire. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  3. ^ Liu, Angus. "BenevolentAI's Proximagen buy creates first AI firm capable of entire drug R&D". Fierce Biotech. Questex. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  4. ^ Shields, Joanna. "Why we need to use AI for life not just lifestyle". BenevolentAI. BenevolentAI. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  5. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "BenevolentAI, which uses AI to develop drugs and energy solutions, nabs $115M at $2B valuation". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  6. ^ BenevolentAI. "BenevolentAI Raises $115 Million to Extend Its Leading Global Position in the Field of AI Enabled Drug Development". PR Newswire. Cision. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  7. ^ Taylor, Nick Paul. "MedTech BenevolentAI bags $115M to fuel AI-enabled R&D push". Fierce Biotech. Questex. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  8. ^ BenevolentAI. "BenevolentAI, the pioneering London-based company using artificial intelligence to advance pharmaceutical development, appoints head of BBSRC as new Chief Executive". BenevolentAI. BenevolentAI. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Exclusive license agreement with Janssen for clinical stage drug candidates". BenevolentAI. BenevolentAI. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  10. ^ "AI enabled research shows delay in onset of motor neurone disease". BenevolentAI. BenevolentAI. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  11. ^ Reuters. "AI drug hunter BenevolentAI worth $2 billion after fund raising". EuroNews. EuroNews. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  12. ^ Shead, Sam. "BenevolentAI Makes Joanna Shields New CEO". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  13. ^ Medeiros, João. "This AI unicorn is disrupting the pharma industry in a big way". WIRED. WIRED. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  14. ^ Shona, Ghosh. "A British tech unicorn is trying to cure Alzheimer's and ALS with artificial intelligence". Business Insider. Business Insider. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  15. ^ Brackley, Paul. "BenevolentAI founder Ken Mulvany on using artificial intelligence to find new drugs to tackle disease". Cambridge Independent. Cambridge. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  16. ^ Ghosh, Shona. "A British tech unicorn is trying to cure Alzheimer's and ALS with artificial intelligence". Business Insider. Business Insider. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Staines, Richard. "AI firm aims to revolutionise drug R&D with new UK facility". pharmaphorum. pharmaphorum. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Artificial Intelligence Startups In United Kingdom". Tracxn. Tracxn Technologies. 10 August 2019. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  21. ^ Rossi, Ben. "AI provides breakthrough in treatment for motor neuron disease". Information Age. Bonhill. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  22. ^ "BenevolentAI Award for medical research charities enters its second year". Association of Medical Research Charities. Association of Medical Research Charities. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  23. ^ Hughes, Owen. "British AI firm lends smarts to Parkinson's charities in hunt for new treatments". Digital Health. Digital Health. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  24. ^ "CB Insights Reveals the AI 100 List At The Innovation Summit". PR Newswire. Automat Technologies, Inc. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  25. ^ "BRITAIN'S FASTEST-GROWING PRIVATE TECH COMPANIES REVEALED" (PDF). Fast Track. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  26. ^ "Winners 2017". CPhI Pharma Awards. UBM. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  27. ^ "THE HOTTEST TECH STARTUPS OF 2017 ROCKED LONDON AT THE EUROPAS AWARDS". The Europas. The Europas. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  28. ^ "Awards Finalists". CogX. CogX. Archived from the original on 29 June 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  29. ^ "BenevolentAI Awarded Technology Pioneer Status by World Economic Forum". BenevolentAI. BenevolentAI. Retrieved 28 November 2018.