Nimbus Discovery Unveils First of Its Kind Drug Discovery Paradigm; Announces Seed Round Co-Led By Bill Gates
Reveals Lead Programs in Cancer, Inflammation and Metabolic Disease
Highlights Unique Partnership with Schrödinger, The Leader in Computational Drug Discovery
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – March 10, 2011 – Nimbus Discovery LLC, a biopharmaceutical company using state-of the-art computational technology to discover novel medicines against exciting but difficult-to-drug disease targets, today announced an extension of its seed round with an investment by Bill Gates and Dr. Richard Friesner, the co-founder of Schrödinger and Professor of Chemistry at Columbia University. Atlas Venture, the founding investor, also participated.
“I am excited to welcome Bill Gates and Richard Friesner as investors in Nimbus”, said Dr. Bruce Booth, Chairman and co-founder of Nimbus. “Their investment recognizes the unique opportunity Nimbus has to leverage Schrödinger’s 20-year technology investment with a virtually-integrated, globally distributed R&D approach.” The Nimbus financing follows a $10MM investment by Bill Gates in Schrödinger to accelerate R&D efforts.
The funds will be used to advance Nimbus’ lead programs in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, an aggressive blood cancer, inflammatory disorders, and metabolic disease. Nimbus is targeting proteins that are pivotal for disease progression including IRAK4, a signaling kinase that becomes inappropriately activated in lymphoma and inflammation, and ACC, a metabolic enzyme that controls the synthesis and burning of fat. While traditional chemistry approaches have failed to develop medicines for these targets, the Nimbus team has generated selective, potent, and differentiated compounds within its first year. Over the next 12-18 months, Nimbus will refine clinical candidates for these targets and will expand its pipeline to include a new series of important targets.
The Nimbus pipeline is the product of a successful strategic partnership with Schrödinger, the leader in chemical simulation and in silico drug discovery, that grants Nimbus privileged access to leading-edge technology, including next-generation WaterMap™ and related technologies, and exclusive rights to key targets. Under the terms of the agreement established in 2010, Nimbus receives exclusive use of customized software packages developed by Schrödinger for these targets, access to a dedicated team of Schrödinger computational chemists and unlimited use of cloud computing resources. Schrödinger has a material equity stake in Nimbus and will receive a series of success-driven milestone payments.
Nimbus has assembled a team with deep drug-discovery experience including Rosana Kapeller M.D., Ph.D., co-founder of Aileron Therapeutics (Chief Scientific Officer); Jonathan Montagu, formerly Concert Pharmaceuticals Business Development (Vice President, Business Operations); Bruce Booth, Ph.D., Partner at Atlas Venture (Director); Vicki Sato, Ph.D., former President of Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Director); and Ramy Farid, Ph.D., co-founder of Nimbus Discovery and President of Schrödinger (Director).
About Nimbus Discovery, LLC
Nimbus Discovery is applying advances in computer-based drug discovery to develop new medicines against important drug targets and thereby unlock fundamental biological pathways. Nimbus has established a first-of-its-kind partnership with Schrödinger, the leader in computational drug discovery, to gain privileged access to cutting-edge technology and exclusive rights to key targets. Nimbus has already delivered selective, potent, and differentiated compounds within the first year for two disease targets that are pivotal in the progression of an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and obesity, respectively. Nimbus has built a virtually integrated, globally distributed R&D organization that leverages an experienced internal drug discovery team across an external network of R&D partners. The resulting organization is scalable, capital efficient and has attracted world-class talent. Nimbus seeks to partner its programs with larger pharmaceutical companies early in the development process allowing Nimbus to focus on its competitive advantage in novel drug discovery. Nimbus programs are held in target-specific subsidiaries under an LLC umbrella. Nimbus Discovery was founded in 2009 by Atlas Venture and Schrödinger, Inc. In 2010, Nimbus received three Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project Tax Credit (QTDP) grants for its programs. For more information please visit www.nimbustx.com.
About Atlas Venture
Atlas Venture is a leading early-stage international venture capital firm that invests in technology and life sciences businesses. Since inception in 1980, its partners have helped build over 350 companies in more than 16 different countries. Atlas Venture is currently investing from its eighth fund which closed in late 2008. For more information, visit www.atlasventure.com.
Schrödinger is a scientific leader in developing state-of-the-art chemical simulation software for use in pharmaceutical and biotechnology research. The Company provides products ranging from general molecular modeling programs to a full-featured suite of drug design software using both ligand- and structure-based methods. The predictive power of Schrödinger’s software allows scientists to accelerate their research and development activities, reduce research costs, and make novel discoveries that might not be possible otherwise. Most recently, Schrödinger acquired the Seurat™ platform to add enterprise-wide data sharing and visualization to its complete offerings. Schrödinger operates from locations in New York, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Maryland, Germany, India, and the UK. For more information, please visit www.schrodinger.com.