Venture Capital: Star Professor And Scientist Daphne Koller’s insitro Raises $400M

Using machine learning, insitro seeks to accelerate and transform drug discovery.

insitro, the startup founded by Stanford University professor and Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller, is again in the news for a big fundraiser. The data-driven drug discovery and development company announced a $400 million Series C round led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), with significant participation from current investors Andreessen Horowitz, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Casdin Capital, and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock as well as other investors. (BusinessWire)

Use of funds

The financing will close during the first full week of April 2021. insitro will use the money to expand its platform’s capabilities and pipeline (so far concentrated on neuroscience and liver disease efforts).

Also, it will be looking “to access enabling datasets, enabling or complementary technologies and platforms, and potential in-licensed assets that have been de-risked by the company’s unique approach to target and patient biomarker discovery.”

Insitro – a year of progress in 2020

“For insitro, 2020 was a year of incredible growth and progress toward our founding vision of bringing the predictive powers of machine learning to drug discovery,” said Daphne Koller, Ph.D., founder, and chief executive officer of insitro. “We built out and demonstrated the capabilities of our target discovery platform in our Gilead collaboration in NASH, receiving the first of our operational milestone payments, and put in place an outstanding collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb in ALS; we also took a big step forward towards moving from targets to medicines through the acquisition of Haystack Sciences, a high throughput chemistry platform that enables ML-driven molecular design; and we recruited Dr. Roger Perlmutter to our board to help guide our drug discovery efforts.”

Drug development deals with pharma majors

insitro has partnered with Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) and Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) to discover new biological targets for drug treatments as well as the drugs themselves.

With Gilead, insitro is working on a deadly form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

In October 2020, the startup entered a five-year, discovery collaboration with Bristol Myers focused on the discovery and development of novel therapies for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia.

Related Story:  Daphne Koller, Founder, Insitro: “In Biopharma, It’s Difficult to Fail Fast”                                                  

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