Recursion boosts drug discovery with Cyclica and Valence acquisitions

acquisition artificial intelligence

Recursion has signed agreements to acquire two companies in the AI-enabled drug discovery space: Cyclica, for $40 million, and Valence, for $47.5 million.

Chris Gibson, co-founder and CEO of Salt Lake City headquartered Recursion, said: “Recursion has pioneered the massive, parallel generation of -omics data with machine learning in order to map and navigate biology to discover new medicines faster. The strategic acquisitions of Cyclica and Valence add industry-leading capabilities in digital chemistry, as well as machine-learning and artificial intelligence, which combined with our large-scale automated wet-laboratories and supercomputing capabilities, enables us to deploy what I believe is the most complete, technology-enabled drug discovery solution in the biopharma industry.” 

Gibson said Recursion looks forward to showing the world proof of the compounding benefit of this full-stack approach through the rapid acceleration of its pipeline and partnerships. 


Cyclica, headquartered in Toronto (Canada), has built two highly differentiated products in the digital chemistry space, which will be integrated into the RecursionOS. MatchMaker is an AI-enabled deep learning engine that predicts the polypharmacology of small molecules as the foundation for small molecule drug discovery.

It is able to generalize across the proteome and uses both AlphaFold2 structures and homology models. POEM (Pareto Optimal Embedding Model) is a similarity-based property prediction model. In contrast to other AI prediction models, POEM uses multiple types of molecular fingerprints to describe molecules, providing what the company said is a much richer measure of similarity, which leads to greater accuracy.

“Cyclica and Recursion both believe in the value of industrializing drug discovery,” said Naheed Kurji, CEO and co-founder of Cyclica. 

“Combining our proteome-wide prediction of small molecule-target interactions into Recursion’s data universe will create one of the largest fit-for-purpose biological and chemical datasets in the drug discovery space. Together, I believe Recursion will have an immense impact on human health in the years to come.”


Valence, headquartered in Montréal, has pioneered the application of low-data learning in drug design, designing differentiated small molecules with improved properties and function from datasets too small, sparse, or noisy for traditional deep learning methods. 

“The integration of Valence’s powerful AI-based chemistry engine into Recursion’s diverse and data-rich operating system will help unlock the true power of AI-first digital chemistry and drug discovery,” said Daniel Cohen, CEO and co-founder at Valence Discovery. 

“Recursion is a leader in technology-enabled drug discovery with a proven track record of leveraging data to uncover novel biology, and I’m thrilled for our teams to join forces and combine our respective strengths to rapidly advance new medicines to patients who need them.”

“The acquisition of Valence gives Recursion the opportunity to create a true center of excellence for some of the most compelling AI/ML research in the world,” said Yoshua Bengio, deep learning pioneer and scientific advisor to both Recursion and Valence. 

“With this newly integrated group present in the Mila ecosystem, Recursion’s team of researchers in AI and ML for drug discovery reaches a critical mass at a crucial time in the development of new AI algorithms for scientific discovery.”

Joining forces with Recursion’s Montréal deep learning research office, Valence will become an artificial intelligence and machine learning research center to be led by Cohen with continued advisory from Yoshua Bengio.

The acquisitions are subject to customary closing and post-closing purchase price adjustments. 

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