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Healx, a Cambridge-based medtech startup that uses artificial intelligence to find new uses for existing drugs, today announced the close of a $10m (£9.1m) series A round led by so-called unicorn-hunter Balderton Capital.

Founded by the British inventor of Viagra Dr David Brown alongside two researchers from Cambridge University, Healx uses its expertise from building one of the worlds largest databases on rare diseases to find treatments where none currently exist, working with existing medications and patient groups to reduce drug development timelines by up to 80 per cent.

Existing investors Amadeus Capital and Jonathan Milner also participated in the round.

Read more: The UK has been crowned the tech unicorn capital of Europe

Todays investment will be used to more than double Healxs staff, which ranges from software engineers to pharmacologists, and to expand its technology.

"The traditional drug discovery process takes 10 to 15 years at a cost of $2bn per new drug and with a failure rate of 95 per cent – its broken, its slow, its high failure, and its not economic for rare diseases," said Brown. "However, todays technology can change that and help 350 million underserved rare disease patients."

Suranga Chandratillake, a partner at Balderton Capital which has backed the likes of Revolut, Betfair and Citymapper, said "the future of medicine will focus on what is different about everyone, personalising treatment and taking the individual into context".

"The first frontier of this exciting new direction for medicine is rare disease and the only way it can be solved is by using automation to deliver a step-change in the volume of discovery that is possible. Healx's HealNet platform, at the forefront of this shift, is already delivering value and Balderton is excited to have the opportunity to be part of the companys journey."

Read more: Cisco channels $100m into the UK's booming artificial intelligence sector

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