Stonewise, a Beijing-based platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) for drug development, has raised nearly $10 million in Series A funding, the company said on Monday.

Why it matters: The Covid-19 pandemic has cast a spotlight on the use of AI in treating and diagnosing diseases, and its potential to quickly discover novel treatments for new and endemic infections.

  • Covid-19, a new flu-like virus, was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December and has spread around the world, infecting nearly 170,000 people.

Details: Stonewise’s latest round of funding was led by Longhill Capital, with the proceeds being used for research and development, optimizing the company’s technology platform, and expanding its technical and management team, the firm said in a statement.

  • Shanghai-based Linear Capital also took part in the round.
  • Stonewise was founded in 2018 by Zhou Jielong, former principal architect at Baidu.
  • The company has partnered with several domestic and international companies and research institutions including US-based biopharmaceutical firm Beyond Spring, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and Peking Univerisity’s School of Medicine, among others.
  • In February, the company brought on Zhang Yingsheng as vice president of smart drug research and development. Zhang is a former senior scientist at US-based pharmaceutical company Verseon.

Context: With research centers and operations in North America and China, Stonewise is currently looking to expand globally.

  • The company is working with the Institute of Materia Medica at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College to research possible treatments for Covid-19.

Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.

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