Zuckerberg’s charity acquires AI startup in an effort to eradicate disease

Posted: 24 January 2017 | By Darcie Thompson-Fields

A charitable foundation backed by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, has acquired an AI startup as part of their initiative to eradicate diseases.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is a standalone company founded by the Facebook founder and his wife, philanthropist and doctor Chan.

CZI is making its first acquisition, a Toronto-based startup Meta that “developed an AI that helps scientists read, understand and prioritise millions of scientific papers,” founded in 2010.

The hope is that the technology developed by Meta will help those in the scientific community discover and share research more easily. “Meta will help scientists learn from others’ discoveries in real time, find key papers that may have gone unnoticed, or even predict where their field is headed,” a Facebook post from CZI reads.

CZI says that Meta will eventually be free to use. The startup raised $6 million in venture funding back in November 2015, and has raised more than $7 million in total, according to Crunchbase. Financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

“We are very excited about what lies ahead,” Meta co-founder and chief executive Sam Molyneux said in a statement.

Zuckerberg and Chan pledged $3 billion over the next decade to help banish or manage all disease back in September 2015, CZI’s acquisition of Meta will align with its mission to innovate and democratise research in the field of biomedicine.

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