CAMBRIDGE, Mass .– (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – LifeMine Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that is reinventing drug discovery by harnessing fungal biodiversity to develop new mechanical and structural therapies, today announced $ 50 million Series B funding from investors leader in the field of life sciences. The funding was led by Rick Klausner and Milky Way Investments, with participation from existing investors GV (formerly Google Ventures), WuXi Healthcare Ventures, Foresite Capital, Arch Ventures, Blue Pool Capital and MRL Ventures Fund. The proceeds from the Series B financing will allow the Company to accelerate and expand its drug discovery efforts, as well as strategically advance certain pipeline programs into clinical development.
LifeMine’s Drug Discovery Platform horizontally integrates various advanced technologies and disciplines, including high throughput microbiology and multi-omics technologies, advanced data science and deep learning, synthetic biology, as well as human disease biology and precision structural engineering of architecturally complex organic molecules, to rapidly discover new small molecule therapies through interrogation of the fungal biosphere. Given their evolutionary proximity to humans, fungi have been an important source of radical impact drugs, but the discovery of these molecules has so far proved extremely difficult. LifeMine’s Discovery Paradigm brings predictability, speed and scalability to natural product discovery for the first time by performing a digital research in the biological space of chemical matter ™.
While traditional natural product discovery has focused on screening complex mixtures comprising hundreds of thousands of molecules to discover minute amounts of a bioactive molecule, LifeMine’s search algorithm focuses on genes encoding natural products according to their computer predicted human target. As a diverse gene pool to draw on, LifeMine has amassed a fully organized repository of fungal genomes on an unprecedented scale. After fully deploying its discovery engine, LifeMine identified a growing pipeline of new, potentially high-impact drug candidates, initially focusing on high-impact precision drugs in oncology and immune modulation.
“LifeMine is poised to catapult drug discovery into the future by crossing a billion years of evolutionary biology on planet Earth with advanced data science and engineering technologies developed in just the past few years.” said Gregory Verdine, Ph.D., co-founder, CEO and Scientific Director of LifeMine. “We were founded on the fundamental scientific principles that evolutionary forces are the greatest drivers of innovation in drug discovery and that fungi are the master builders of new drugs mechanically and structurally. Over the past three years, our team, board, and investors have mounted an expedition through the uncharted territories of genomic drug discovery in fungi, and we have discovered that these territories have virtually limitless potential. Our goal is not to market one or two niche drugs; our vision is to shake the field of drug discovery to its roots and create a new way to discover drugs with unmatched speed and scalability.
“LifeMine’s approach is unprecedented in small molecule drug discovery,” said Richard Klausner, MD, principal investor, co-founder and chairman of the board of directors of LifeMine. “The scientific know-how, the platform, the qualified team and the strategic option of the Company associated with the rapid discovery of drugs against high-value therapeutic targets in numerous pathological fields together represent a unique and compelling opportunity. . I look forward to continuing to support the company’s efforts and working with its talented management team and board of directors as it enters its next stage of growth.
With the completion of the Series B funding, LifeMine has now raised more than $ 120 million from leading life science investors since the company was founded in 2017.
Dr Verdine continued, “We have made significant progress since our inception a few years ago, including bringing together one of the largest collections of proprietary, fully digitized and genomic fungal strains in the world, and in a short period of time, these fungi have provided a source for a growing pipeline of new drug candidates in oncology, T-cell mediated immune disorders, and other therapeutic areas with high unmet medical need. Now a 100-strong organization, we continue to develop our product pipeline, our capabilities and capacity, and our phenomenal team at all levels, and we move forward with a full head in this exciting next chapter of our. epic expedition. ”
Expansion of the exclusive collection of fungal strains (LifeBank™)
LifeMine is pleased to announce the assembly of one of the largest collections of fungal strains in existence. This repository of strains, called LifeBank ™, includes more than 100,000 live and diverse fungal strains collected from around the world by leading pharmaceutical companies, including the entire collections of Merck, Schering, Pfizer, Wyeth, Lederle and others. A significant fraction of the genomes of these organisms has been completely sequenced, assembled and annotated to create the largest searchable genomic database – called LifeBase ™ – of various wild-type fungi in existence today.
In addition to these legacy sources, the Company has commissioned a state-of-the-art facility at the port of Gloucester, MA, and is assembling a proprietary collection of marine fungal strains from various ecosystems obtained through collection expeditions under local orders, state and federal permits.
Appointment of Nobel Laureate William G. Kaelin Jr., MD, to Board of Directors
LifeMine announced earlier today the appointment of William G. Kaelin Jr., MD, to its board of directors. Dr Kaelin is a Sidney Farber Professor in the Department of Medicine at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute researcher. In 2019, Kaelin won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in understanding how cells sense and adapt to changes in oxygen. Dr Kaelin is also an accomplished entrepreneur in the life sciences, having been the scientific co-founder of Tango Therapeutics and Cedilla Therapeutics. He also currently serves on the board of directors of Eli Lilly and Company.
About LifeMine Therapeutics
LifeMine Therapeutics is reinventing drug discovery by harnessing fungal biodiversity to develop new mechanical and structural therapies to address previously intractable therapeutic challenges. LifeMine’s Drug Discovery Engine enables large-scale genomic search and retrieval of small molecule drug candidates that have very specific function. Using its discovery engine and proprietary collections of fungal strains, LifeMine has discovered hundreds of potentially high-impact drug candidates in the genomic space of relevance to targets in all major disease domains, and initially focused on high impact precision drugs in oncology and immune modulation. The company was founded in 2017 by renowned entrepreneur / scientist Gregory Verdine, Ph.D. and Richard Klausner, MD, and entrepreneur / entrepreneur WeiQing Zhou, MBA Based in Cambridge, MA, and with a Second site in Gloucester Harbor, MA, LifeMine has raised more than $ 120 million from major life science investors. For more information, please visit www.lifeminetx.com.