Biosimulation outfit nets $15M Series A in push to make preclinical R&D more predictable
VeriSIM Life has been working on creating a biosimulation platform since its founding in 2017 — and after more than four years and a pre-seed and seed round, the California software firm now has a Series A under its belt.
The $15 million round, led by Morpheus Ventures and supported by new investors Debiopharm Innovation Fund and Colorcon Ventures, includes existing investors OCA Ventures, Intel Capital, Serra Ventures and Susa Ventures. The round will fund VeriSIM Life for the next 2 to 2½ years.
The R&D company, founded and led by first-time CEO Jo Varshney and located in San Francisco, has about 15 full-time employees, Varshney told Endpoints News. With the Series A, Varshney said, the company can double its employees over the next 18 months and increase its infrastructure, expanding current partnerships and potentially opening the door to new ones.
The firm’s platform, called BIOiSIM, tries to combine AI and machine learning to more accurately predict which drug candidates are most likely to succeed in animals and ultimately humans.
Varshney — originally a veterinarian by training before getting her PhD in comparative oncology and genomics — said that close to 90% of drugs that pass animal testing do not pass testing in clinical trials in humans. And in her mind, that number can be changed.
“And we want to reduce that number. Even 20 to 30% increases and improves the chances of better R&D decisions, as well as better clinical patient enrollment protocols,” Varshney said.
What makes VeriSIM’s platform unique, according to Varshney, is that its platform integrates machine learning and deep learning methods in physics-based modeling, which she says allows VeriSIM Life to simulate and more accurately predict potential clinical outcomes. That plays into translatability and in her words, “de-risking R&D.”
“So for example, we want to de-risk the efficacy endpoints, we want to de-risk what the best route of administration would look like, what the dosing could look like,” Varshney said. “And we’ve incorporated all that in a unified or centralized architecture that enables a centralized learning of our system to print to have better accuracy predictions, but also overall learning about a system.”
Beyond VeriSIM Life, it has a subsidiary: PulmoSIM Therapeutics, which from Varshney’s view, is validation of VeriSIM Life’s platform. So far, the biotech has two candidates in its pipeline: one is for pulmonary arterial hypertension, which already has orphan drug designation, and the second is for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.