Rare Daily Staff
Recursion Pharmaceuticals, which is harnessing artificial intelligence for drug discovery and development, closed a $121 million series C financing.
The new financing will support Recursion’s continued build-out of its machine learning-enabled drug discovery platform alongside new capabilities designed to radically accelerate new chemical entity chemistry and predict safety pharmacology. The funding will also be used to advance its growing pipeline of pre-clinical and clinical assets, including clinical-stage programs for cerebral cavernous malformation and neurofibromatosis type 2.
Baillie Gifford’s Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust led the round with participation by new institutional investors Intermountain Ventures, Regents of the University of Minnesota, Texas Tech University System, and select angel investors. All prior institutional investors also participated in the round, including Lux Capital, Data Collective, Mubadala Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Obvious Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Epic Ventures, Menlo Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, and CRV.
“Recursion impressed us with its multidisciplinary effort and ambitious vision to improve our understanding of biology and discover new drugs in a way that is faster and cheaper,” said Marina Record, Investment Manager at Baillie Gifford.
Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are collections of capillaries in the brain that are enlarged and irregular in structure that lead to altered blood flow. While about 25 percent of individuals with CCMs aren’t troubled by it, others experience serious symptoms such as headaches, seizures, paralysis, hearing or vision deficiencies, and bleeding in the brain. The condition can be sporadic or it can be inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. Treatment depends on the symptoms.
Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) is due to a mutation in the NF2 gene that leads to uncontrolled nerve cell growth, which causes tumor development in nerve tissue throughout the body. Symptoms of inner ear tumors in NF2 usually include trouble with balance, dizziness, headache, facial weakness, numbness, pain, ringing in ears, and hearing loss. Treatment usually involves surgery to remove tumors in the ear as well as support for hearing loss. Other symptoms may develop if tumors occur in other areas of the body and can include abnormal vision, weakness in the arms or legs, and fluid buildup in the brain.
Recursion plans to prioritize the advancement of treatments for rare diseases within its own pipeline, but it will also continue to forge strong partnerships with industry-leading pharmaceutical companies in a variety of therapeutic areas, including immuno-oncology, oncology, aging, and inflammation.
“In under two years since closing our series B round,” said Chris Gibson, CEO, Recursion “we have put two drugs discovered on our platform into clinical trials, had our first discoveries with Takeda optioned, grown our automated experimental bandwidth by an order of magnitude, expanded beyond rare diseases into new therapeutic areas like inflammation, infectious disease and immuno-oncology, grown our team from 64 to 150-plus and added all-stars from the biotech and tech worlds, and opened a state-of-the-art, 100,000 square-foot headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City.”
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. It initially focused on drug repurposing to treat rare diseases, but has broadened its platform to many other areas. The company’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.
Photo: Chris Gibson, CEO of Recursion Pharmaceuticals