SR One and Lilly Ventures join financing as new investors
In vivo proof of concept achieved for lead IRAK4 program in 9 months
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – June 28, 2011 – Nimbus Discovery LLC, a biopharmaceutical company using state-of-the-art computational technology to discover novel medicines against exciting but previously inaccessible disease targets, today announced the close of a $24MM Series A financing. The investment was co-led by Atlas Venture, SR One, and Lilly Ventures. Existing investor, Bill Gates, also participated.
“We are delighted to have the support of SR One and Lilly Ventures,” said Bruce Booth, Chairman and Co-founder of Nimbus. “Their investment recognizes the extraordinary progress that Nimbus has made with its platform including the discovery of highly selective IRAK4 inhibitors with potent in vivo activity.”
Proceeds from the financing will be used to accelerate existing programs targeting IRAK4 and ACC, in inflammation, cancer and metabolic disease, and to expand the Nimbus pipeline to include a series of new targets addressing important medical conditions. IRAK4 plays a pivotal role in inflammatory disease allowing the Nimbus drug candidates to be pursued in a broad range of therapeutic applications. IRAK4 is a genetically validated target since humans with inactivating IRAK4 mutations are resistant to autoimmune disease but are otherwise healthy in adulthood.
In connection with the financing, Kent Gossett, M.D., Ph.D., Partner at SR One, and Steve Hall, Ph.D., Venture Partner at Lilly Ventures, have joined the Nimbus Board of Directors.
“We are excited by the advances that Nimbus has made in unlocking previously intractable targets. We believe that the Nimbus approach can deliver medicines that will transform the treatment of serious disease,” Kent said.
“Nimbus Discovery has created a highly innovative drug discovery model that combines a unique collaboration with Schrödinger with single-minded focus on developing valuable drug candidates,” Steve added.
Steve and Kent join the existing Board of Directors that includes 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).
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 more than 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.
About SR One
SR One is the corporate venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline. The firm invests globally in emerging life science companies that are pursuing innovative science that will significantly impact medical care. Since 1985, SR One has invested approximately $650 million in more than 140 companies. For more information, visit www.srone.com.
Above Lilly Ventures
Lilly Ventures, one of the venture capital funds associated with Eli Lilly and Company, manages $200 million in committed capital, investing in start-up biopharmaceutical and medical technology companies in early through expansion-stage investments. The primary goal of Lilly Ventures is to facilitate the success of companies with innovative technologies by providing both financial and intellectual resources to accelerate the management teams’ path to success. For further information, visit www.lillyventures.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, the UK, and Japan. For more information, please visit www.schrodinger.com.