Artificial Intelligence, Startups, BioPharma

Recursion raises $239M in Series D, partners with lead investor Bayer

The partnership includes a $30 million upfront payment from Bayer and potentially more than $100 million in milestones per program generated through the partnering of the German drugmaker’s molecule library and Recursion’s artificial intelligence-based drug discovery platform.

A startup developing artificial intelligence technology for drug discovery is partnering with a large German drugmaker in connection with its most recent investment round.

Salt Lake City-based Recursion Pharmaceuticals said Wednesday that it had secured a Series D financing worth $239 million, led by Bayer’s Leaps by Bayer venture capital arm. Other new investors participating in the round include Casdin Capital, Catalio Capital Management, Laurion Capital Management, Samsara BioCapital and others. Existing investors such as Baillie Gifford, Mubadala, Lux Capital, Obvious Ventures, Felicis Ventures, EPIC Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Advantage Capital, Intermountain Ventures participated as well.

“We have made significant progress since our last financing a year ago, doubling the number of clinical and preclinical programs in our pipeline, doubling the size of our proprietary database of cellular images and significantly expanding the capabilities of our deep-learning algorithms, as well as continuing to integrate new technologies at every step of the discovery process to create the first truly digitally powered biotechnology company,” Recursion CEO Chris Gibson said in a statement.

The company plans to use the financing to support clinical development of its pipeline. The company’s pipeline page lists 10 programs in Phase I and Phase II clinical development for diseases ranging from solid tumor cancers to Clostridium difficile infection, lipid storage disorders and others.

Separately, the company announced the partnership with Bayer, which had invested $50 million in the Series D round. The companies plan to use Recursion’s drug-discovery system and Bayer’s library of small molecules in order to discover and develop new drugs for fibrotic diseases of the lung, kidney, heart and other organs. The deal includes an upfront payment of $30 million in addition to the venture capital investment and milestone payments of more than $100 million per program.

“Many of the most significant innovations of this century will occur at the intersection of biology and technology,” Gibson said in a statement. “We believe that our vision of using technology to unravel the exceptional complexity of biological systems will lead to next-generation biotherapeutics at unprecedented speed, scale and precision.”

Photo: MF3d, Getty Images