With a $60 million series B round and a fourth pharma partnership, Recursion Pharmaceuticals Inc. plans to expand the use of its phenotypic screening platform to a broader range of chemical libraries and therapeutic areas.
Recursion’s platform applies advanced imaging, artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to low-tech cellular disease models to create morphological signatures of disease and rapidly screen for compounds that can reverse them (see BioCentury Innovations, April 20).
The company started out using its platform to identify new indications in the rare genetic disease space for existing compounds, including clinical, marketed and shelved assets. Its internal pipeline includes three rare disease candidates slated to enter the clinic next year, and 27 programs in discovery.
“It was a search space that was sufficiently small to provide a good learning environment to build the platform,” said CEO Chris Gibson.
Gibson said the untranched B round, which closed on Oct. 3 and was led by existing investor Data Collective (DCVC), will enable Recursion apply its platform to new chemical entities and therapeutic areas including inflammation, infectious disease, immuno-oncology and aging.
"We’ll have the opportunity to grow our collaborations to access more chemical libraries. We'll go from generating 25 TB of data per week to generating 200 to 220 TB of information every week," said Gibson.
Over the next 18 months, Recursion plans to pursue novel drug discovery internally and through ongoing and additional partnerships.
However, repurposing compounds for rare diseases will continue to be one of the company’s major focus areas.
On Oct. 10, Recursion entered a collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. (Tokyo:4502) to discover rare disease candidates for Takeda’s TAK-celerator pipeline.
Recursion will screen 250 shelved preclinical assets from Takeda in exchange for an undisclosed upfront payment and more than $90 million in milestones, plus royalties.
According to Tauhid Ali, head of TAK-celerator, the pharma hopes to see at least five programs emerge from the collaboration in the next year and may eventually expand the deal to include new chemical entities.
“The hope is that over time, as we prove our capabilities, we’ll have the opportunity to grow our collaborations to access more chemical libraries,” said Gibson.
Recursion is also partnered with Sanofi (Euronext:SAN; NYSE:SNY) to repurpose undisclosed small molecules for genetic diseases. The company’s two other pharma partners are undisclosed.
Other participants in the B round included existing investors Lux Capital, Obvious Ventures, Epic Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Advantage Capital and Felicix, and new investors Mubadala, Menlo Ventures, CRV, Two Sigma and undisclosed angels.