With an eye to 'non-obvious binding sites,' CBC Group launches precision medicine play with $67M and ex-Editas exec at the helm
Over the past year, CBC Group has been quietly incubating a biotech to take advantage of the AI rush and make some new therapies against hard-to-drug oncology targets. And it’s now enticed a tech investor to pick up the tab on the Series A.
ENSEM Therapeutics is launching with $67 million from GGV Capital — which has backed companies like Airbnb, Alibaba and Slack — and Pavilion Capital, Cenova Capital, Mitsui & Co. Global Investment and CBC Group.
Co-founder Shengfang Jin left her post as head of drug discovery biology at the gene editing pioneer Editas Medicine last May to lead ENSEM as president and CSO. Before that, though, she led Agios’ small molecule cancer metabolism and rare genetic disease portfolios, specializing in targeted therapies.
While small molecules may be a traditional modality compared to the cutting-edge CRISPR tech she had been involved in, there’s a lot of room for new tech to capture the “ensemble of conformations that govern” the functions of biomolecules like proteins and RNAs, which are in constant motion.
ENSEM’s platform, she added, integrates molecular simulation, AI deep learning and macromolecular dynamic techniques for experimental validation.
“We expect many of these programs will reveal non-obvious binding sites as drug targets and create novel classes of small molecule therapeutics,” she said.
The company has yet to disclose its targets, but notes the new cash will support further development of its platform and the pipeline.