Machine Learning

ML-driven drug discovery company, insitro Raises $400M


Proceeds will Support Continued Advancement of Founding Vision
to Reshape Drug Discovery and Development of Transformative Medicines

Paul McCracken, Senior Portfolio Manager, Thematic Investing, at CPP Investments, to Join Board of Directors

insitro, a machine learning-driven drug discovery and development company, today announced that it has raised $400 million in a Series C financing. The financing was 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 ARCH Venture Partners, Foresite Capital, GV, Third Rock Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, HOF Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments. Also joining in the round are Temasek, Softbank Investment Advisors, an undisclosed leading global investment group, and an undisclosed market-leading payer provider health system in the United States. As part of this financing, Paul McCracken, Ph.D., Senior Portfolio Manager, Thematic Investing, at CPP Investments, will join insitro’s board of directors at the time of the financing’s closing.

“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. This Series C financing, alongside our Series B in mid-2020, provides us with tremendous resources from some of the best long-term investors in biotech, and will allow us to continue to expand our work towards bringing transformative medicines to patients faster and with fewer failures. We are honored to have the support of this incredible group of investors and to welcome Paul to our board.”

“Since our initial investment in 2020, insitro has become an increasingly strong fit for our Innovations and Health Care strategy, as the company has progressed towards the ambitious vision of redefining drug discovery and development through the application of machine learning,” said Leon Pedersen, Managing Director and Head of Thematic Investing. “As a long-term investor, CPP Investments looks forward to continuing to support insitro in driving future innovations in healthcare.”

Proceeds from the financing will be used to further expand insitro’s platform capabilities and pipeline, providing resources 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’s approach to rethinking drug discovery and development is fueled by three strategic pillars:

  • machine learning-enabled statistical genetics on deeply phenotyped human cohorts to discover targets and patient segments with potential to inform clinical strategy,
  • predictive cell-based disease models to discover targets, patient segments and drugs;
  • and machine learning-enabled therapeutics design.

The application of these pillars has built the foundation of the company’s pipeline, which includes efforts in neuroscience and liver diseases that are being advanced both internally and through strategic partnerships.

“The insitro team has developed a powerful approach to drug discovery based on the wholesale application of machine learning to every phase of the process: target identification, lead discovery, and the elaboration of highly evolved therapeutic candidates,” said insitro board member Dr. Perlmutter. “This Series C round provides insitro with the wherewithal to pursue this vision across multiple therapeutic domains, both on an independent basis, and with like-minded strategic partners.”

The financing is expected to close during the first full week of April 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.

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