The startup funding landscape for deep technology companies in healthcare is burgeoning and Zephyr AI is no exception to this trend.

The US company has closed a $111m Series A financing round to advance its artificial intelligence (AI) platform that helps generate insights into improving patient care and research. 

Zephyr AI’s work focuses on curating large datasets that it combines with AI algorithms to build tools and products for the healthcare industry. Presently, the company is developing improved data federation tools – applications that take data from multiple sources and convert them into a common model – and machine learning algorithms.

The company’s current target areas are in oncology and cardiometabolic diseases, according to a 13 March press release.

Zephyr AI’s executive chairman Grant Verstandig said: “We are harnessing the power of AI to extract novel insights to better define patient stratification and response predictions as well as improve federation of real-world data.

“We are deploying one of the largest clinicogenomic datasets that has unprecedented breadth across disease states and data partners. Collectively, we are now well positioned to support our mission of democratising precision medicine, enhancing both the speed and success of clinical trials.”

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Precision medicine is an emerging method of disease treatment that takes into account the genes, environment, and lifestyle of a patient. It reflects the transition from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to one that is more data-driven.

The startup was founded in 2021 by investment company Red Cell Partners and received $18.5m in seed financing in March 2022.

With the Series A investment, Zephyr AI will look to expand its scientific and commercial teams, along with advancing its training and validation datasets.

Eli Lilly’s backing in Zephyr AI is not the first play the big pharma has made in the AI space. In 2022, Eli Lilly partnered with Genesis Therapeutics – an AI-led drug development company. Genesis later raised $200m in Series B financing in August 2023. Eli Lilly also partnered with Alphabet’s digital biotech company Isomorphic Labs to develop small molecule drugs using AI, in a deal that could rise to worth more than $1.7bn.

The AI market is expected to be worth $908.7bn by 2030, according to GlobalData.