Xaira Therapeutics announced its launch

  • Xaira is an integrated biotechnology company built to deliver on the promise of emerging AI tools to help transform the drug discovery and development process, providing more effective therapies to patients faster.
  • To realize that transformation, Xaira will combine robust product development, cutting-edge biological and clinical data generation, and AI methods research, both translational and fundamental, applied to all steps of the drug discovery and development process.
  • Founded and jointly incubated by ARCH Venture Partners and Foresite Labs, and co-founded by Dr. David Baker of the UW Medicine Institute for Protein Design, Xaira launches with more than $1 billion in committed capital in support of its mission.
  • Xaira is led by founding CEO, Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, former Chief Scientific Officer of Genentech and former President of Rockefeller and Stanford Universities. The executive team also includes co-founder Dr. Hetu Kamisetty, formerly of Meta and the Institute for Protein Design; Dr. Arvind Rajpal, formerly of Genentech; and Dr. Don Kirkpatrick, formerly of Interline and Genentech.

Xaira Therapeutics launched today on a mission to help re-engineer the way we discover and develop medicines through the end-to-end application of emerging AI technologies. A joint incubation by ARCH Venture Partners and Foresite Labs, Xaira launched with more than $1 billion of committed capital from lead investors ARCH Venture Partners and Foresite Capital, joined by F-Prime, NEA, Sequoia Capital, Lux Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI), Byers Capital, Rsquared, and SV Angel, among others.

Xaira brings together three core elements: advanced machine learning research, expansive data generation to power new models, and robust therapeutic product development. With leading talent and capabilities in each area, Xaira is building a platform for drug discovery and development that will advance multiple drug programs and unlock biological understanding to inform future discovery.

Xaira is building significant AI research capabilities spanning fundamental computational methods development and their application to biological discovery, the design of drug-like matter, and clinical development. Xaira was co-founded by Dr. David Baker, Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The company now employs a group of researchers who developed the leading models for protein and antibody design, RFdiffusion and RFantibody, while in Dr. Baker’s lab. Xaira’s broader team will advance these models and develop new methods that can connect the world of biological targets and engineered molecules to the human experience of disease.

Xaira’s advances in biological machine learning are underpinned by the company’s ability to generate, integrate, and learn from vast multidimensional data sets that comprehensively characterize disease-relevant biology at all scales, from molecules to people. Xaira’s internal platforms incorporate leading technologies and personnel which were spun out into Xaira at inception from Illumina’s long-standing functional genomics R&D effort. The company has also integrated a leading proteomics group from Interline Therapeutics.

In the hands of an experienced team of drug developers, Xaira’s platform forms the basis of a robust therapeutic product development capability across multiple modalities. Its design capabilities, applied to previously difficult to drug targets, are the foundation for a pipeline of differentiated therapeutics. The platform is also being built to transform every laboratory and clinical experiment into a vehicle for rich data generation. The product development process itself fuels the development of improved AI models and biological foundation models.

“We have reached the point where AI finally allows us to see biology in new ways, and translate those discoveries to better treatments for disease,” said Robert Nelsen, Managing Director and Co-Founder of ARCH Venture Partners. “This creates an enormous opportunity for us to rethink drug discovery entirely. For this reason, Xaira is the largest initial funding commitment in ARCH history.”

“Driven by growing data sets and new methods, there has been accelerating progress in artificial intelligence and its applications to medicine, biology and chemistry, including seminal work from David Baker’s lab at the Institute for Protein Design,” said Dr. Vikram Bajaj, CEO of Foresite Labs and Managing Director of Foresite Capital. “In starting Xaira, we have brought together incredible multidisciplinary talent and capabilities at the right time to reimagine our entire approach, from drug discovery to clinical development.”

Xaira is led by renowned scientist Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, former Chief Scientific Officer of Genentech and former President of Rockefeller and Stanford Universities. Other executives include co-founder Dr. Hetu Kamisetty, formerly of Meta and the Institute for Protein Design; Dr. Arvind Rajpal, formerly of Genentech; and Dr. Don Kirkpatrick, formerly of Interline and Genentech.

“In my previous roles, I witnessed an earlier generation of technologies fundamentally change drug discovery, delivering new medicines that alleviate the burden of disease for many patients,” said Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, CEO. “Now, witnessing how AI is impacting other industries and the considerable progress in applications of AI in biology, I believe we are poised for a revolution. Xaira is in a strong position to both advance fundamental AI research and translate these advances into transformative new medicines, and I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the team.”

The company’s board comprises eminent scientists and seasoned company builders, as well as executives from successful drug development enterprises and technology companies. “The board looks forward to supporting the team in building a transformative company under the visionary leadership of Marc Tessier-Lavigne,” said director Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner and current NEA partner. “Xaira promises to be a magnet for the best talent in AI and drug development,” added director Kaye Foster, Senior Advisor, The Boston Consulting Group and former SVP, Global Human Resources, Onyx Pharmaceuticals.

The board of directors currently includes:

  • Vikram Bajaj, Ph.D, Co-Founder and CEO, Foresite Labs; Managing Director, Foresite Capital
  • Carolyn Bertozzi, Ph.D., Baker Family Director of Sarafan ChEM-H; Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor; Professor (by courtesy) of Chemical and Systems Biology and of Radiology, Stanford University; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Nobel Prize (2022)
  • Kaye Foster, M.B.A., Senior Advisor, The Boston Consulting Group, and former SVP, Global Human Resources, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, former CHRO, Johnson & Johnson
  • Alex Gorsky, M.B.A., Former Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson
  • Scott Gottlieb, M.D., Former FDA Commissioner, Partner, NEA
  • Stephen Knight, M.D., President & Managing Partner, F-Prime
  • Mathai Mammen, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of FogPharma and Former EVP, Pharmaceuticals R&D, Johnson & Johnson
  • Robert Nelsen, M.B.A., Co-Founder and Managing Director, ARCH Venture Partners
  • Richard Scheller, Ph.D., Chairman of R&D, BridgeBio; former Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Therapeutics at 23andMe, and the former Executive Vice President of Research and Early Development at Genentech; Lasker Award (2013)
  • Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., CEO Xaira; former President, Stanford University & Rockefeller University; former Chief Scientific Officer, Genentech
  • Bryan White, M.B.A. Chair, Advisory Board, the Institute for Protein Design; Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer, Sahsen Ventures; former CIO Quadra/Quellos and Blackrock Alternative Advisors

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