January 24, 2018 / 3:27 AM / a year ago

Google, Tencent, Sequoia China join $15 million funding for pharma startup XtalPi

FILE PHOTO: A sign of Tencent is seen during the fourth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, December 3, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s Google, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Sequoia Capital China have joined a $15 million B series funding round for Boston- and Shenzhen-based artificial intelligence (AI) pharmaceutical firm XtalPi Inc.

Sequoia led the round, which brings the startup’s total funding amount to $20 million, XtalPi and Google said in statements on Wednesday.

XtalPi uses AI, cloud computing and quantum physics to improve drug design processes.

The deal is the first co-investment by Google and Tencent since the two companies revealed this month that they have signed a patent sharing agreement, paving the way for cooperation between the two firms.

Google has recently ramped up investment in the Chinese market where its search engine remains blocked. Last month it announced it had launched a dedicated AI lab in the country.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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