Coursera Co-Founder Daphne Koller Launches New AI Drug Development Startup

In February, Ms. Koller left her position as chief computing officer at Google’s biotech company Calico

Tofi Stoler 12:5006.05.18

After leaving her position as chief computing officer at Google’s biotech company Calico LLC in February, Israel-born data scientist Daphne Koller, is launching a new machine learning venture focused on drug development.


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In a blog post published Tuesday, Ms. Koller introduced the new company called insitro. According to Ms. Koller, the company sets out to “rethink drug discovery” through artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data.


Daphne Koller. Photo: Amit Sha'al Daphne Koller. Photo: Amit Sha'al


Backers include Andreessen Horowitz LLC, and GV Management LLC (formerly Google Ventures), as well as biotech venture capital firms Foresite Capital Management LLC, ARCH Venture Partners and Third Rock Ventures LLC.


A former Stanford University Computer Science professor, In 2012 Ms. Koller co-founded California-based online education company Coursera Inc., which allows users to take online courses by leading U.S. universities at relatively low costs.
Insitro’s aim is to use machine learning capabilities to develop drugs for patients suffering from less common conditions that currently have no known treatment, Ms. Koller wrote. Ms. Koller said she believes big-data on genetics and medicine available today are key to making this process faster, cheaper and more successful, adding that government-backed databases, such as the UK Biobank, provide unprecedented amounts of genetic, molecular and clinical data on large portions of the population.


Based in Menlo Park, California, insitro is currently looking to recruit biologists, machine learning engineers, computer scientists and data scientists.
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