Kebotix has emerged from Harvard University with backing from investors including Baidu to commercialise an automated approach to discovering new materials and molecules.

Kebotix, a US-based automated materials discovery technology spinout from Harvard University, has emerged from stealth with $5m in seed money from investors including Baidu Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of internet group Baidu.

The round was led by One Way Ventures, with contributions from Flybridge Capital Partners, Embark Ventures, Propagator Ventures and WorldQuant Ventures.

Founded in 2017, Kebotix is working on a lab that will discover new materials and molecules, deploying artificial intelligence and robotics technology to speed up the process of research, design and production.

The approach is intended to vastly reduce lead times for development by enabling greater quantities of molecular data to be processed and acted on by automated systems.

Kebotix’s founding team includes Alán Aspuru-Guzik, a former professor at Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology who moved to University of Toronto in July 2018. He also played a hand in the emergence of Harvard quantum computing spinout Zapata Computing in May this year.

Saman Farid, partner and head of the US team at China-based Baidu Ventures, said: “We no longer need to shoot in the dark and hope for the best, but can use AI to predict and use an autonomous lab to experimentally verify new materials.

“This has huge implications for the health of our planet and can allow industry to build things they previously could not even imagine.”