Toronto-based AI and biomedical startup BenchSci has reduced its headcount as the startup looks to adapt to the impact of generative AI in the field of drug discovery.

BenchSci announced the layoffs in a LinkedIn post Monday, but did disclose how many staff were let go as part of these layoffs, nor what percentage of the company’s total workforce these layoffs represent. 

“We believe that generative AI will continue to reshape preclinical [research and development] and have a substantial positive impact on our customers.”

Multiple individuals claiming to have been let go as part of this round of layoffs have noted in LinkedIn posts that the layoffs impacted 17 percent of BenchSci’s overall headcount. LinkedIn lists the company’s total employees at 433; BetaKit has reached out to BenchSci for comment.

In its LinkedIn post, BenchSci cited several reasons behind its workforce reduction, including “shifts in the economic environment, operational efficiencies, and adaptation to technological advancements,” specifically citing generative AI.

“We believe that generative AI will continue to reshape preclinical [research and development] and have a substantial positive impact on our customers,” BenchSci said in its LinkedIn post. “As we look towards our future, these changes will allow us to further our investment in generative AI and work toward making drug discovery more efficient and help bring new medicine to patients faster.”

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The layoffs come roughly six months after BenchSci closed $95 million in Series D funding to expand its AI-powered drug-discovery platform. Using text and image-based machine learning models, BenchSci claims its software allows scientists to accelerate the pace and increase the success of research during the preclinical drug-development process.

BenchSci is not the only Canadian AI and biomedical startup to have reduced its headcount in recent months. In late November, Vancouver-based AbCellera laid off 63 employees, or 10 percent of its workforce. In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said the layoffs would help it “focus its efforts toward the clinical development of new antibody medicines for patients.”

At the time of BenchSci’s Series D fundraise, co-founder and CEO Liran Belenzon told BetaKit in the 15 months between its $63-million Series C financing round and its Series D round, the startup had tripled its revenue and doubled its team size from 200 to 400.

Feature image courtesy BenchSci.

The post BenchSci trims headcount citing generative AI, economic conditions first appeared on BetaKit.

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