KEY POINTS
  • Insilico Medicine, a Hong Kong-based biotech startup with more than $400 million in funding, created the drug as a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease.
  • "It is the first fully generative AI drug to reach human clinical trials, and specifically Phase II trials with patients," Alex Zhavoronkov, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine, told CNBC.
  • The discovery process for the new drug began in 2020.
Alex Zhavoronkov, left, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine, and Feng Ren, co-CEO and chief scientific officer, at the company's robotics lab in Suzhou, China.

The first drug fully generated by artificial intelligence entered clinical trials with human patients this week.

Insilico Medicine, a Hong Kong-based biotech startup with more than $400 million in funding, created the drug, INS018_055, as a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic disease that causes scarring in the lungs. The condition, which has increased in prevalence in recent decades, currently affects about 100,000 people in the U.S. and can lead to death within two to five years if untreated, according to the National Institutes of Health.