Additional backing arms Schrödinger with $110M in first venture round — shining a spotlight on its own pipeline
Turns out Schrödinger wasn’t done with its Series E yet when it announced a star-studded $85 million investment this January in the lead-up to the JP Morgan confab. With a new stream of cash from Invus, Pavilion Capital, Laurion Capital Management and virtual reality entrepreneur Michael Antonov, the New York-based company now has $110 million in total to grow its sprawling computational chemistry operation.
CEO Ramy Farid took the opportunity to boast that Schrödinger’s platform “has been validated again and again across hundreds of targets in real-world drug discovery projects,” a number that’s bound to get much bigger as his team of 400 pushes the reach of their technology.
By integrating the speed of machine learning and accuracy of physics-based molecular simulations, Schrödinger has a “powerful combination” of technologies that allows it to crawl a vast chemical space to arrive at precise answers, Farid tells me. The promise of better, newer drug design has enticed multiple biopharma partners, while also leading to the creation of splashy startups like Nimbus and Morphic Therapeutics that have gone on to take venture and deal lives of their own. Then there’s the joint venture with WuXi AppTec, an attempt at marrying its software with the global CRO’s lead optimization prowess announced last October.
Schrödinger is now keen to expand its internal pipeline, continue developing the platform and expand the business following the Series E, which is also its first round featuring institutional backers. (David E. Shaw provided the Series A, while Bill Gates single-handedly covered all three subsequent rounds.) Crossover investors are in the mix — a fact that should offer a clue of where the 29-year-old company is headed next, Farid says.
Whereas its therapeutic focus has historically ranged from antifungal and fibrosis to metabolic diseases and type 2 diabetes, Schrödinger has spent the past year a half drilling down on oncology, particularly the replication stress response and DNA damage repair pathways, says chief biomedical officer Karen Akinsanya. A Merck vet, Akinsanya joined Schrödinger last year to oversee its internal programs.
For an idea on platform R&D, the company added:
The Schrödinger platform now can predict potency, solubility and selectivity with experimental accuracy — in other words, the atomic-level molecular modeling in silico is as effective at assessing those properties as synthesizing the compound in the lab. And it’s far, far quicker and cheaper. Schrödinger is committed to continued R&D to keep expanding the range of properties its platform can assess with this degree of accuracy.
You can expect more collaborations to come. There’s no word on new startups yet.
The new investors join a marquee honor roll that includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund, Deerfield Management, Baron, Qiming Venture Partners and GV.