Transpacific AI biotech makes its Series A debut — putting $86M in the bank
With the rush of AI permeating the biotech industry, another AI player is coming out well-organized and flush with cash. METiS Therapeutics announced this morning that it successfully put $86 million in the bank, thanks to a Series A.
Two investment firms connected to the Chinese government (People’s Insurance Company of China and China Life Insurance Company) led the financing round — and were joined by Sequoia Capital China, 5Y Capital and several other investors.
“Today’s news represents the first of many significant milestones that we will be accomplishing throughout the next year,” METiS CEO Chris Lai said in a statement.
The biotech, founded back in 2017 and with 70 employees in both China and in Cambridge, MA, plans to triple its US-based employees within the next 12 months.
After its founding, METiS partnered with XtalPi, a Cambridge AI-focused R&D company — where the biotech got seed funding and incubated for a time before spinning out in early 2020.
So where is this Series A money going? The $86 million will be used to advance the company’s pipeline, METiS said, along with continued development of its AI drug discovery and delivery platform, along the lines of RNA therapeutics, gene therapies and small molecules. Concerning how far it’ll last the company? The company remained mum on the topic, only saying “$86 million will take them [METiS] through multiple milestones and value inflection points.”
And while it is still early in the company’s history, the company told Endpoints in an email that they do have something in mind for initial targets: “orphan diseases, CNS, autoimmune systems and nephrology,” they said.
METiS is optimistic about taking its candidates to clinical trials soon — and expects to file its first IND by end of June next year.
In terms of partnerships, METiS said it is “aligning right now with companies and universities that can strengthen/complement the technologies that fuel our AiTEM platform and on our programs,” but decided to not disclose who those potential partners are. And that is in tandem with ongoing talks with other companies about in-licensing certain drug candidates.