Alexis Borisy and Co. Raise $520M for New Model VC
Courtesy of Getty Images
Aiming to revolutionize the model for venture capital in the biotech world, Curie.Bio launched this week with $520 million to take early startups from ground zero through Series A funding.
Curie acts “as both your drug discovery copilot and seed investor,” according to a letter posted on the company’s site. Instead of targeting a Series A in which founders are asked to give up control when they've barely begun, the new model comes alongside with drug hunters, makers and experts to support the fledgling company.
Curie's vision is to “free the founders” by offering the support needed for a successful biotech launch while keeping founders in the pilot's seat.
“Early mistakes in biotech are expensive. Very expensive,” Zach Weinberg, CEO and co-founder of Curie, said in an introduction video.
To help avoid those common pitfalls, Curie joins its partners as fully integrated members of the team. The firm assists in target selection, budgeting, scientific plan design and connections with the right vendors and experts.
The VC borrowed its name from Marie Curie, “the original scientist risk taker,” Weinberg told BioSpace.
Curie’s team doesn’t limit themselves to a specific therapeutic area.
“It can be anything from an idea on paper to an existing company with significant proof of concept data,” Weinberg said.
As long as there’s a lead program with a concept mature enough to reach a meaningful value of $5-7 million within 12-18 months, they’re game.
Curie is chock full of its own experts who are founders themselves. Weinberg sold his first company, Invite Media, to Google in 2010, and his next venture, Flatiron Health, to Roche in 2018.
Alexis Borisy, operating chairman, has co-founded a laundry list of companies, including Relay Therapeutics, EQRx, second on BioSpace’s NextGen Bio 2021 list and IDRx, number eight on BioSpace’s NextGen Bio 2023 roster.
Borisy and Christoph Lengauer, third co-founder and CSO, are partners at Third Rock Ventures. Lengauer is a drug hunter, having previously contributed to the discovery, development and approval of 10 drugs.
We “work with you in the trenches,” Lengauer said in the introduction video. For a period of time, Curie will be the missing chemist or biologist for their clients.
Curie’s current portfolio includes four fledglings: Forward Therapeutics and Decrypt Biomedicine, both focused on immunology; Astoria Biologica targeting MS; and Differentiated Therapeutics, which is combining bio, chemistry and AI to design degrader therapeutics.
The VC’s investors include ARCH Venture Partners, Leaps by Bayer and 5am Ventures.