Belfast drug discovery start-up Amply raises £900,000 in funding

Pictured at Queen’s University are (from left) Anne Dornan (Queen’s), Stuart Gaffikin (CFM) Dermot Tierney (Amply Discovery), Ben Thomas (Amply), Prof Chris Creevey (Queen’s), Peter Alexander, Jurnorain Gani (both Amply) and Prof Sharon Huws (Queen’s). Picture: Andrew Towe
Gary McDonald

BELFAST-based biotech company Amply Discovery has raised £900,000 in a mix of equity and grant funding to develop new drug products using its proprietary AI-driven drug discovery platform.

The start-up was spun out from Queen's University last year (after eight years researching the science of its product) to commercialise an innovative drug discovery platform developed by researchers in its School of Biological Science.

Amply Discovery is focused on helping to solve the challenges created by the global health threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which threatens to render ineffective mankind's current portfolio of antibiotics to fight infections caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Its team is using AI and machine-learning techniques to discover new anti-infective products.

The company's initial flag-ship programme is developing a new anti-infective product to tackle bovine mastitis and has received grant funding from Innovate UK under its ICURE Aid for Start Ups programme.

Amply has raised further funding to support its development programmes through equity investment from Co-Fund NI, which is managed by Clarendon Fund Managers and supported by Invest NI and the British Business Bank, the QUBIS Innovation Fund, the Helix Way Partnership, and angel investment from members of the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN).

Its chief executive and co-founder Dr Ben Thomas said: “It's exciting toadvance the commercial development of Amply Discovery thanks to the tremendous support of our investors and Queen's University.

“The development of initial research in this domain started out almost a decade ago when I considered adopting AI and machine learning techniques I had worked with in financial markets for the computational biology domain.”

His fellow co-founder Dermot Tierney (chief commercial officer) added: “This latest funding milestone is a significant achievement and will allow us to target significant commercial opportunities for new anti-infective products starting with bovine mastitis.”