Meet Benchling, the latest unicorn seeking to revolutionize the way scientists do work with the help of the cloud
There’s another unicorn in biotech land, as Benchling and its leading R&D cloud platform pull in a $200 million Series E to help scientists accelerate drug development. In doing so, the company hit a lofty $4 billion valuation — nearly five times what it was worth around this time last year, according to Forbes.
Despite the fact that drug development is becoming significantly more complex, the industry continues to run on paper, emails and spreadsheets, co-founder and CEO Sajith Wickramasekara said in a video on Benchling’s website. The former MIT student sought to change that by creating software that allows scientists to better track, model and forecast their work.
“Given the massive change in complexity of the work that’s being done — more teams, new molecules, new processes — it was impossible to do work in an efficient way with a legacy set of tools,” he said.
Since launching Benchling in 2012, Wickramasekara has sold the platform to more than 1,000 R&D organizations worldwide, including big players like Gilead, Sanofi and Regeneron. Sana Biotechnology CEO Steve Harr says Benchling helps the company — which scored a massive IPO earlier this year — “capture, store and analyze immense amounts of data.”
In January, Benchling announced it doubled its annual recurring revenue for the fourth year in a row, and opened its EMEA headquarters in Zurich. The company bagged a $50 million Series D in May, bringing its total fundraise to $114 million with an $850 million valuation, Forbes reported. With the Series E round, the company’s total raise sits at $350 million.
Wickramasekara told Forbes that the company doesn’t have a timeline for an IPO, but is “doing the work to get ready.”
“This funding will enable us to provide more products, solutions and services that scientists around the world ultimately need to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges,” he said in a statement.
Sequoia Capital Global Equities led the Series E, with help from a mix of new and old investors, including Altimeter Capital, Byers Capital, Elad Gil, Thrive Capital, Benchmark, Menlo Ventures, Alkeon Capital, ICONIQ, Lux Capital, Spark Capital and Lead Edge Capital.