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22 June, 2022 - 17:36 By Tony Quested

Optibrium secures new funding for scale-up in $4.8bn market

Optibrium™, a Cambridge developer of software for drug discovery, has secured further, unspecified, investment from existing backer Kester Capital, the mid-market private equity firm. 

The investment will be used to further develop and commercialise Optibrium’s computer-aided drug discovery technologies. While the level of the Optibrium funding is not being disclosed, Kester Capital typically invests between £10 million and £20m per deal.

The scale-up blueprint includes future appointments to the senior leadership team and continued expansion across Europe and the US, including a recent move to a new head office in Cambridge UK.

The funding follows the initial investment by Kester Capital in February 2021 and reflects the success of the business as it demonstrates ARR growth in excess of 25 per cent for the last three years. 

Recent opportunities to collaborate with strategic partners, the development of the latest generative chemistry technology and roll-out of innovative new software features, have catalysed the growth of Optibrium’s customer base.

More than 170 organisations worldwide currently deploy Optibrium’s in silico drug discovery technologies and AI platforms in their research programmes, including five of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies. 

The company’s products enable preclinical drug discovery, focusing on ‘hit to lead’ and ‘lead optimisation’ phases extracting maximum value from pharmaceutical data, to confidently target high-quality compounds and accelerate discovery cycles.

Its product, StarDrop™, is a comprehensive suite of integrated software for small molecule design, optimisation, and data analysis that enhances the speed and productivity of the drug discovery process. 

Cerella™, Optibrium's proven artificial intelligence platform, empowers project teams with valuable insights from complex drug discovery data to maximise the success of preclinical discovery projects.

Optibrium CEO Matt Segall said: “It's been an incredible year with Kester Capital’s original investment affording us the opportunity to take the company to new heights as we successfully launched Cerella, our ground-breaking new AI platform, and actioned ambitious plans to grow the company. 

“I am delighted that due to this success, Kester is investing further and their continued support will allow us to accelerate our product development plans and further capitalise on the substantial market opportunities.”

Adam Maidment, managing partner of Kester Capital, said: “Optibrium’s cutting edge software continues to drive some of the most exciting developments within computer-aided drug discovery. 

“In the last year, we have been tremendously impressed by Optibrium’s ingenuity and the business’ achievements. We also appreciate the talent and expertise demonstrated by the team as the business continues to thrive.”

The market for computer-aided drug discovery (CADD) is a fast-growing sector, driven by the increasing capabilities and sophistication of software tools that can deliver material cost and time savings for drug developers. 

Independent market research predicts that the global CADD market will surpass $4.8 billion by 2026, rising from $1.5 billion in 2018 at a CAGR of 15.5 per cent.

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