UK APPLIED AI POWERHOUSE, ZENITH AI ACQUIRED BY OPENTRONS LABWORKS OUT OF STEALTH
ACQUISITION COMPLETED ALONG SIDE OF A $200M INVESTMENT BY SOFTBANK VALUING THE PARENT AT $1.8B
Zenith AI’s software, Zenify, mobilises the company’s major breakthroughs in machine learning to enable and automate large-scale understanding of DNA sequences.
19 October 2021
Zenith AI is proud to formally announce that Opentrons Labworks has acquired the company. Zenith is the principal applied AI/ML business unit within the Opentrons family of companies powering lab automation, diagnostics and synthetic biology initiatives across life sciences.
“Zenith is building a patent-pending software BioStudio that enables biologists to rapidly build and deploy purpose-built AI applications for future biotechnology”, said Founder and CEO Professor Neil Robertson. “The intersection between best-in-class machine learning and world-class biology represents perhaps the most exciting white space in science today and we are fortunate to be able to pursue that within our new parent company, Opentrons. There are endless innovations waiting right around the corner, which will produce tangible benefits to real people.”
The principal application of the BioStudio will be the work that is currently being conducted with another Opentrons’ subsidiary, Neochromosome. The primary application of Zenith’s machine learning is genome-scale cell engineering for pharmaceuticals. Synthesizing genome-scale novel DNA constructs at unprecedented throughput is now a realistic goal with the Zenith-Neochromosome partnership.
Professor Joel Bader of Johns Hopkins University commented, “I’ve been part of this community for over 25 years, and the Zenith team is taking us to new levels with two breakthroughs. First, they are helping us invent entirely new types of engineered cells. Second, they’ve changed our thinking of machine learning as a black box to a model that teaches us new biology, for example with attention-based learning for genome engineering.” In partnership, the companies are creating transformative solutions for the discovery, development and biomanufacturing of therapeutics.
Zenith AI was founded in July 2020 by the world-renowned machine learning entrepreneurs Neil Robertson, Sankha Mukherjee, Rolf Baxter and Maximilian Constant, all of whom have a demonstrated track record of building and commercializing applied machine learning companies together. The team first made a name for themselves in the computer vision space and are known for their iconoclastic - and successful - approach towards creating applied AI for real world data. Zenith AI has been in stealth since its inception and was backed by prominent technology investors Ridgeline Venture Partners, Millennium and Jacket River and has been principally advised by WestExec Advisors since its founding.
The acquisition is an important signal that the United Kingdom continues to be recognized for its machine learning experts who are solving the world's most complex data-driven problems; from computer vision to natural language processing to life sciences.
About Opentrons Labworks Inc. Opentrons develops the integrated lab platform that serves life science and healthcare customers via the Opentrons Robotics, Pandemic Response Lab, and Neochromosome subsidiaries.