Roche spins out Nimble Therapeutics to capitalize on peptide drug discovery, with $10M support from Telegraph Hill Partners
In 2007, Roche Diagnostics acquired Madison, Wisconsin-based NimbleGen as it looked to add DNA microarray tech to its genomics research toolkit. The pharma giant has since shuttered the unit, laid off staffers and announced it would close the site altogether, but the technology is living on as a drug discovery platform in a new spinout.
Image: Jigar Patel NIMBLE
Nimble Therapeutics has secured a Series A from San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill Partners to begin courting pharma companies that might be interested in applying their “massively parallel chemical synthesis” to generate and screen peptide-based therapies. They have $10 million to get started, an SEC filing revealed.
“We feel we bring a solution to the field that will rapidly accelerate and/or rescue some of those programs that have struggled in the early stages of discovery.” CEO Jigar Patel told Xconomy.
Patel, a director on Roche’s NimbleGen team, added that he recruited 12 other colleagues to his new venture. They include Brad Garcia, VP of corporate development; Lauren Goodrich, director of R&D; and John Tan, director of informatics & operations. For now, their operation is co-located at Roche’s Madison office.
Nimble also brings a variety of biological assays that can help optimize peptide molecules with better drug-like properties, it wrote in a release. It counts more than 20 collaborations to-date, with plans to expand current pacts while developing new relationships.
Eventually with the superior speed and flexibility of its system comprising light-based synthesis and digital micromirror devices, Patel told Xconomy, Nimble aims to build an in-house pipeline — though it’s too early to say when.
“The Roche team saw the value in separating the business to enable it to expand its platform and work on a variety of therapeutic areas with strategic partners,” said Deval Lashkari of Telegraph Hill Partners, who’s joined Nimble’s board. “Nimble’s capabilities are truly revolutionary and we are excited to work with the company in a shared vision to grow the business into a leading drug discovery partner for the pharmaceutical industry.”