The company calls itself the first to “massively scale the genomic discovery of powerful new drugs from eukaryotic microbes”. LifeMine plans to use artificial intelligence to hunt down drugs hidden within the DNA of fungi.
The Series A round was led by WuXi Healthcare Ventures, which includes investors like Foresite Capital, Arch Ventures, Boyu Capital and others.
“My life’s passion has been to discover new treatments that address formidable challenges holding back modern medicine and for major, complex diseases,” co-founder, president & CEO Gregory Verdine said in prepared remarks. “The fungal biosphere is full of answers to these outstanding questions in the form of powerful, bioactive small molecules that engage human targets not previously targeted by conventional drugs. Despite their promise, these fundamentally innovative medicines proved difficult and time-consuming to discover by traditional means, leaving the industry in search of a technological solution.”
“Our genomically-enabled drug discovery engine is precisely that solution, dramatically accelerating the search for nature’s breakthrough drugs. LifeMine has already begun to deliver a pipeline of medicines that promise to profoundly impact human health.”
In connection with the round, LifeMine appointed to its board of directors Edward Hu, WuXi Healthcare Ventures’ founding partner; James Tananbaum, founder & CEO of Foresite Capital; Krishna Yeshwant, general partner at GV; Yanling Cao, managing director of Boyu Capital; and Rick Klausner, the founder and director of Juno Therapeutics, GRAIL, and Mindstrong.
“LifeMine has figured out how to tap into the power of evolution and accelerate the creation of new drugs that meet the greatest medical challenges of our day and those that have frustrated industry-wide attempts at solution,” Hu said. “LifeMine is building an exciting company with the potential to dramatically improve human health and well-being by mining fungi to discover drugs that hit difficult targets. We are proud to have worked with the founders to launch the company and the investor syndicate that came together in this financing round will continue to aggressively support LifeMine’s efforts.”
“LifeMine has the potential to eradicate diseases that were previously thought untreatable by current drug discovery technologies,” Klausner added. “I’m thrilled to be part of the team that will help guide LifeMine as it rapidly brings forward new treatments for some of the most complicated, insufferable diseases.”