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Verge Genomics Secures $98 Million to Advance AI Enabled Neuroscience Drug Discovery

December 16, 2021

Verge Genomics, an AI and human data-enabled drug discovery company, closed an oversubscribed $98 million series B financing round to advance its neurodegenerative disease pipeline into the clinic and expand its platform.

Photo: Alice Zhang, co-founder and CEO of Verge Genomics

Funds managed by BlackRock and supported by new investors Eli Lilly, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Section 32, and Vulcan Capital led the financing, alongside Verge’s existing investors, including Threshold Ventures, ALS Investment Fund, Tao Capital Partners, Lifeforce Capital, and others.

“Our platform has demonstrated its ability to identify novel targets from human datasets for these diseases and rapidly develop them into proprietary clinical candidates,” said Alice Zhang, co-founder and CEO of Verge Genomics. “With our series B completed, the quality and breadth of our shareholder base allows us to validate our platform in the clinic. The addition of new clinical datasets has the potential to dramatically improve our self-reinforcing learning platform and accelerate us towards our mission of developing better drugs, faster.”

Verge has built an end-to-end, AI-driven drug discovery platform that its says includes one of the field’s largest proprietary genomic datasets from human brain tissue and is one of the first AI-enabled drug discovery companies to discover a novel target and develop it internally into a proprietary clinical candidate entirely using its platform. In July 2021, the company announced a $706 million partnership with Lilly to develop new treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a devastating progressive, and fatal motor neuron disease, using its platform.

The new funding will also be used to grow Verge’s pipeline and advance its lead programs, which includes multiple candidates targeting ALS, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and others through clinical testing. Additionally, Verge will continue to expand its proprietary technology to enable improvements in many steps of the drug discovery process including translational medicine and clinical development.

“Exponential improvements in technology are converging to create an inflection point in drug development,” said William Abecassis, BlackRock’s head of Innovation Capital. “Verge has uniquely positioned itself to harness this opportunity, having developed both a world-class AI discovery platform and the most comprehensive neurodegenerative genomic database of human patients in the world. Together with their team of prominent leaders in neuroscience, we are excited to be supporting them in shaping the next era of technology-enabled drug development.”

Author: Rare Daily Staff

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