Recursion Scores $60 Million to Fund AI-Driven Drug Repurposing, Pipeline Development
Published: Oct 04, 2017
- The Series B Round Led by Data Collective (DCVC) Includes Participation From All Prior Institutional Investors (Series A Lead Lux Capital, as well as Obvious Ventures, Advantage Capital, Felicis, Epic, and AME) and New Investors Mubadala, Menlo Ventures, CRV, Two Sigma and High-Value Angel Investors
SALT LAKE CITY, UT--(Marketwired - October 03, 2017) - Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company that combines innovative biological science with artificial intelligence to discover new therapeutics at scale, is announcing its $60 million Series B financing led by Data Collective (DCVC). The over-subscribed round brings the company's total capital raised to more than $80 million.
Recursion augments traditional drug discovery approaches, most prominently phenotypic screening, with artificial intelligence (AI). By modeling thousands of diseases in human cells and capturing hundreds of millions of microscopic images, the company is building the world's largest biological image dataset, currently growing by more than 2 million new images and 20 TB of data each week. This highly relatable and comprehensively annotated dataset enables the company to train neural networks and use other sophisticated computational techniques to identify changes in thousands of cellular and subcellular features in the presence of various biological perturbations. This approach, which Recursion dubs 'Phenomics', enables unbiased discovery of novel biology, drug targets, or drug candidates at an unprecedented scale and pace. Recursion is advised on its AI strategy by Dr. Yoshua Bengio, one of the pioneers of deep learning, who was drawn to the incredible opportunity for drug discovery presented by the dataset Recursion is building.
"We are identifying potential new therapies in less time and for less money than ever before by eschewing human bias, embracing empiricism, and treating cellular biology as a system too complex and interconnected to be broken down into simple pieces," said Chris Gibson, Co-Founder and CEO of Recursion. "These funds will enable us to continue our work in drug repurposing, including our partnerships with multiple major pharmaceutical companies, while also building out our own internal pipeline of new drugs and expanding into new therapeutic areas and discovery partnerships. Ultimately, as we continue to grow our massive, high-dimensional dataset over hundreds of millions of biological perturbations, we will be well-positioned to make reliable inferences about the trillions of relationships between genes, proteins and chemicals."
Data Collective (DCVC) Managing Partner Zachary Bogue, who will join Recursion's Board of Directors, added, "We're excited to lead the Series B to help this amazing team take the company to the next level. Recursion exhibits the best characteristics of DCVC's 'virtuous cycle' deep tech investing, where their world class AI enhances and expands their proprietary dataset which in turn makes their AI algorithms better. Recursion's truly novel approach accelerates commercial-scale drug discovery for the hardest diseases to treat."
Continuing board member Zavain Dar of Lux Capital, Recursion's Series A lead investor, commented, "Recursion has proven its machine learning approach to phenomics can consistently yield high value results and be immediately translatable to their pharma partners, while simultaneously building out a massive internal discovery pipeline. The oversubscribed Series B is indicative of a company that's taken significant science and technology risk off the table and is now in the position of scaling into a full stack biotech."
Recursion initially employed their novel discovery platform for drug repurposing across models of rare genetic diseases. The company has recently expanded the platform to enable target discovery and new chemical entity discovery, as well as to identify potential treatments in new indication areas like inflammation, immuno-oncology, infectious disease and aging. This financing, along with the company's biotech and pharma partnerships, will enable the continued expansion of the platform into new therapeutic areas, as well as the early development and partnering of the company's own therapeutics. Recursion has already generated more than 30 discovery programs across more than two dozen diseases, with its lead program expected to enter the clinic in 2018.
About Recursion Pharmaceuticals
Recursion Pharmaceuticals is an emerging biotechnology company based in Salt Lake City. Recursion combines experimental biology and bioinformatics with artificial intelligence in a massively parallel system to quickly and efficiently identify treatments for any disease which can be modeled at the cellular level. From its initial and continued focus on drug repurposing to treat rare diseases, Recursion has broadened its platform to probe rich data from high-throughput automated screens for a number of indications, including aging, inflammation, infectious disease, oncology, and diagnostics. Recursion's ultimate vision is to leverage technology to build a robust and reliable map of human cellular biology, which would enable a radical shift in the pace and scale at which new treatments could benefit patients. Learn more at www.recursionpharma.com, or connect on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.