Generative Biology Pioneer Snags $370 Million to Scale Platform
Generate Biomedicines raked in $370 million in a Series B financing round that will be used to advance the company’s developmental programs toward the clinic and allow it to advance its technology platform.
Founded by Flagship Pioneering, Generate Biomedicines is a machine-learning protein-therapy company. It uses its Generative Biology technology to generate synthetic protein sequences for antibodies, peptides, enzymes, gene therapies, and other modalities to meet different therapeutic needs. Generate Chief Executive Officer Mike Nally, a former Merck executive who joined the company earlier this year, said the company uses its machine-learning technology to understand the underlying genetic code that guides the function of proteins.
“We are pioneering the field of Generative Biology—a revolutionary approach to drug development that allows us to program novel protein therapeutics capable of performing almost any desired biological function,” Nally said in a statement. “Since launch, we have made incredible strides in advancing our technology platform and will have multiple preclinical programs by year-end with several in the clinic in 2023. With financial support from a world-class group of committed co-investors, we will rapidly scale our organization and begin to realize the transformational power of our platform.”
The company emerged from stealth mode in September 2020. Like many Flagship companies, Generate Biomedicines began with a question: “What if we could generate novel protein therapeutics using new computational tools, without having to discover them through trial and error?” And thus was born Generate Biomedicines, with a vision to move biomedicine past reliance on existing discovery methods and develop a new machine-learning technology that can potentially generate biologic drugs for any target to treat previously intractable diseases. “The leaps made in machine learning and computing power are ushering in a new era of drug generation—no longer will we be dependent on traditional approaches to drug discovery,” Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of the board of Generate Biomedicines and CEO of Flagship Pioneering said in a statement. “Generate Biomedicines has demonstrated the ability to create computer-designed biotherapeutics for potentially any disease target.”
So far, the company’s technology platform has uncovered generalizable principles of protein complexes. This allows for the prediction of novel binders for desired targets and, according to the company, recoding protein sequences while retaining structure and function and evading immune activation. The company’s technology platform can generate antibodies that bind specific epitopes on specific targets. This lets the technology generate in silico potent antibodies on demand.
The company has not yet disclosed a lead candidate or indication, but when it launched, Generate Biomedicines said it built a portfolio of therapeutic candidates for SARS-CoV-2 neutralization, including antibodies and peptides that target multiple epitopes on the spike protein peptide.
Generate Biomedicines has ambitious goals for scaling the company. There are plans to rapidly expand the headcount from 80 employees to about 500 within the next two years. The headcount expansion will support two state-of-the-art facilities that will allow the company to expand its computational biology, machine learning, data generation, and wet lab capabilities.