A logo of Baidu is seen at the company's headquarters in Beijing, following the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, China May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang
Logo of Baidu is seen at the company's headquarters in Beijing

Reuters

  • Chinese tech giant Baidu is in talks with investors to raise $2 billion for biotech startup that will use the company's AI technology to develop drugs and diagnose diseases.
  • Baidu came up with the idea earlier this year, but is unlikely to be the controlling investor in the startup, people with knowledge of the project told Reuters
  • Baidu founder and chairman, Robin Li, is directly involved in the startup, which does not yet have a name, the sources said.
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Chinese tech company Baidu reportedly plans to raise $2 billion for a biotech startup that will use AI to develop drugs and diagnose diseases. 

Baidu came up with the idea for the startup earlier this year and is currently in talks with investors. The company, one of the world's largest AI companies, is unlikely to be the controlling investor in the startup, people with knowledge of the project told Reuters

The startup intends to use Baidu's AI technology to find and develop drugs, as well as diagnose early-stage cancer, anonymous sources said. 

Baidu founder and chairman, Robin Li, is directly involved in the startup, which does not yet have a name, they said.

The startup discussions come amid rising investor interest in biotech firms, including those developing vaccines and rapid diagnostic tests. In August, 12 biotech venture capital investors spoke to Business Insider about which startups will take off in the next 12 months. The list of 21 biotechs include diagnostic test startups, cell therapy companies, and firms developing new painkillers.

Baidu released a tool earlier this year that can analyze the structure of a virus in 27 seconds. Its aim is to help develop vaccines against COVID-19.

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