Press Release
March 12, 2024

Ex-Google DeepMind and Owkin scientists team up to create Bioptimus to build the first universal AI foundation model for biology

  • The French startup has launched with a seed funding of $35M, led by Sofinnova Partners, with Bpifrance Large Venture, and additional funding from top global technology VCs
  • Bioptimus will connect the different scales of biology with generative AI; from molecules to cells, tissues and whole organisms, to fuel scientific breakthroughs and accelerate innovation in biomedicine and beyond
  • The world-class team, led by Professor Jean-Philippe Vert, brings together Google DeepMind alumni and Owkin experts

Today, French startup Bioptimus emerged from stealth following a seed funding round of $35M. Under the leadership of Professor Jean-Philippe Vert, PhD, Bioptimus unites a world-class team of scientists from Owkin and Google DeepMind alumni to transform ​biology with cutting-edge AI foundation model technologies that capture the various scales of biology. This funding round is led by Sofinnova Partners, with Bpifrance Large Venture, and additional support from global funds based in France, including Frst and multistage VC Cathay Innovation. Top global tech investors Headline, Hummingbird, NJF Capital, Owkin and Top Harvest Capital, as well as notable tech entrepreneur Xavier Niel, have joined the round to create a global leader in AI for biology in France.

Professor Jean-Philippe Vert, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Bioptimus, Chief R&D Officer of Owkin and former Research Lead at Google Brain, said:

“The application of foundation models and generative AI to biology is set to have a profound impact in science. By harnessing the power of foundation models and advanced algorithms trained on massive amounts of biological and multimodal data across scales, we aim to capture the laws of biology that have hitherto remained too complex to be properly understood. This holistic understanding of biology across scales will be critical to accelerate biomedical and environmental science.”

Edward Kliphuis, Partner at Sofinnova Partners, added:

“Foundation models in biology are game-changers. They unlock unprecedented potential to personalize medicine, capturing the uniqueness of each individual while harnessing the collective knowledge of all. Bioptimus stands out by seamlessly blending unparalleled data resources and access, elite talent, and extensive computational power. Together with Sofinnova's deep expertise in life sciences and our expansive network, we're poised to redefine the future of the industry."

Laurent Higueret, Senior Investment Director at Bpifrance Large Venture, commented:

“Founded on the ambition to make a quantum leap in our understanding of the complexity of human biology and bringing together a top team of accomplished experts in the fields of data science and generative AI, Bioptimus holds the promise to go even deeper in the analysis of patients’ data across multiple levels and help unveil biological connections hitherto unthought of. We at Bpifrance are delighted to team-up with such an impressive team and group of investors and support the development of a category defining company that has the potential to disrupt many R&D activities.”

Bioptimus will benefit from Owkin’s data generation capabilities and federated global access to multimodal patient data sourced from leading academic hospitals worldwide, as well as a best-in-class, scalable and secure computing environment from Amazon Web Services, Inc (AWS). Fueled by an abundance of data from all scales and modalities, this gives the power to create computational representations that establish a strong differentiation against models trained solely on public datasets and a single data modality that are not able to capture the full diversity of biology.

About Bioptimus

Bioptimus is building the first universal foundation model in biology to drive advancements in scientific research and biotechnological innovation. By employing state-of-the-art AI technologies and accessing unique proprietary data, we aim to shape the future of scientific research and improve healthcare outcomes globally.

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About Owkin

Owkin is a TechBio company that combines the best of human and artificial intelligence to ensure every patient gets the right treatment. By understanding complex biology through AI, we identify new treatments, de-risk and accelerate clinical trials and develop AI diagnostics. Owkin uses privacy-enhancing federation to access up-to-date multimodal patient data that unlocks AI’s potential to power precision medicine. We merge wet lab experiments with advanced AI techniques to create a powerful feedback loop for accelerated discovery and innovation. Owkin founded MOSAIC, the world’s largest multi-omics atlas for cancer research. Owkin has raised over $300 million through investments from leading biopharma companies (Sanofi and BMS) and venture funds (Fidelity, GV and Bpifrance, among others).

About Sofinnova Partners

Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm in life sciences, specializing in healthcare and sustainability. Based in Paris, London and Milan, the firm brings together a team of professionals from all over the world with strong scientific, medical and business expertise. Sofinnova Partners invests in companies from seed to late-stage, and actively partners with ambitious entrepreneurs as a lead or cornerstone investor to develop innovations that will positively impact our collective future. 

Founded in 1972, Sofinnova Partners has backed over 500 companies and created market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over €2.5 billion under management.

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About Bpifrance and its Large Venture fund

Bpifrance is the French Public Investment Bank and acts as one-stop-shop offering domestic companies a comprehensive range of financial products and services to support them at every stage of their development including equity, loans, guarantees and export insurances, as well as consultancy or training.

Large Venture - the late-stage VC arm of Bpifrance - is a €1.75 billion fund dedicated to fast-growing, highly innovative startups looking to accelerate organic or external growth. Large Venture was incepted in 2013 with the mission to bring the most promising French technologies from the lab to the market, and ultimately to profitability. Large Venture invests in private and public companies across three main sectors: healthtech and life sciences, digital and greentech. For more information, please visit us at:

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The Bioptimus Team