— Turbine’s Simulated Cell™ platform identifies novel cancer treatments and high unmet need patient groups to target where current experimental or computational approaches fail to succeed
LONDON & BUDAPEST, Hungary–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Turbine, a company developing a cell behavior simulation platform, today announced the closing of a €20 million Series A financing round. Mercia and MSD Global Health Innovation (GHI) Fund (MSD is the trade name of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway NJ, USA) co-led the financing, joined by Day One Capital and existing investors Accel, Delin Ventures, and XTX Ventures. In conjunction with the financing, MSD GHI Fund and Mercia Asset Management have delegated members to Turbine’s new Board.
Turbine will use the financing proceeds to drive its next generation, potential first-in-class programs targeting DNA Damage Repair. These programs were the first ever to be selected using Turbine’s proprietary Simulated Cell, which revealed relationships not described in public data before. Turbine leverages its technology at every stage of development, identifying associated biomarkers and combination strategies, as well as selecting in vitro and in vivo biological models for experimental validation. Turbine partners with biopharmaceutical companies seeking to deploy simulation to understand patients and overcome causes of resistance hindering drug development efforts in the clinic. Simulated Cells have already guided the pipelines of several global partners generating multiple predictions currently in clinical validation, including Bayer and two of the top 20 pharma companies by global revenue in 2021. Furthermore, the technology successfully identified dozens of clinically validated targets invisible to any other computational approach.
“MSD GHI looks forward to enabling acceleration of Turbine’s growth and expansion,” said David M. Rubin, Ph.D., Managing Director, MSD GHI Fund. “We believe Turbine’s Simulated Cell has the potential to transform key aspects of the oncology drug discovery and development process, providing insight at scale that will shed light on even the most challenging biological mechanisms.”
“While Mercia has a long track record of investing in companies using AI technologies for life sciences and healthcare, Turbine is one of our first investments in an AI platform designed to address historic challenges to drug development,” said Daniela Tsoneva, Investment Manager, VCT Funds at Mercia. “Turbine’s core technology is highly differentiated and already validated by early work with large pharma partners. We are excited to support Turbine as it advances the Simulated Cell, deepens our collective understanding of cancer biology, and makes drug development more efficient and more successful across the biopharma industry.”
“The idea sprung from our frustration that conventional experiments frequently lead to expensive and time-consuming drug development failures,” said Szabolcs Nagy, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Turbine. “We’ve come a long way since 2016, when a handful of biologists and data scientists bootstrapped a technology to predict experiments better reflecting patients and more likely to translating in the clinic. With over 60 experts across the globe and the support of investors like MSD Global Health Innovation Fund and Mercia Asset Management, we’re poised to demonstrate that simulations not only reveal new ways of treating cancer but increase the likelihood of success at every single step of the drug development process.”
Osborne Clark LLP provided legal advice to Turbine on the transaction. Paul Hastings LLP and Green Shoots Consulting advised the MSD Global Health Innovation Fund and Eversheds Sutherland acted for Mercia.
Based in London, UK, with offices in Budapest, Hungary and Cambridge, UK, Turbine was founded in 2016 by Kristof Szalay, Ph.D., Daniel Veres, M.D., Ph.D., and Szabolcs Nagy to overcome the limitations of existing methods in identifying oncology treatments that truly benefit the patients who receive them by combining molecular biology and artificial intelligence (AI). Since its founding, Turbine has developed and validated the Simulated Cell™, a proprietary and cutting-edge platform that runs billions of simulations prior to ever initiating preclinical development guiding real-life experiments with invaluable biological insights. This improves the likelihood of success for truly novel therapies and allows existing assets to be optimally targeted to patients most likely to benefit from them. Turbine’s technology leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to build a constantly evolving, predictive simulation of cellular signaling. These virtual cells are used for in silico experiments having never been run in lab, capturing patient biology better than available experimental models and testing more drug-like effects than current high throughput screening approaches. Validating the uncovered mechanisms and using the resulting data as feedback further improves the model’s capabilities to reveal novel biological mechanisms.
Simulations have already been validated from target discovery to patient stratification and life cycle management in collaborations with multiple big pharma companies. Turbine is now leveraging the Simulated Cell platform to develop its own stream of programs; expanding from an early focus on overcoming resistance to DNA Damage Response (DDR) inhibitors, the company is pursuing multiple high unmet oncology needs. Turbine is also working with partners to extend its pipeline to various modalities and cancer mechanisms. For more information, visit www.turbine.ai.
Mercia is a proactive venture capital investor that aims to be the first-choice partner for growth. Mercia currently has c. £959million of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has a portfolio of over 400 start-ups from pre-seed to Series B and beyond. Mercia makes initial equity investments of between £250k and £10million across all sectors, specialising in Software, Consumer and Life Science investments. Within the Life Sciences sector, Mercia supports innovations in biotechnology, digital healthcare and medical devices, which enable efficiencies and deliver material improvements in the standard of care. The firm has nine offices in the UK and over 60 in its investment team, all drawing on their experiences as founders, PhD scientists, software engineers, corporate financiers and management consultants to help our partner companies successfully achieve their ambitions.
Mercia’s venture funds sit alongside the Mercia Group’s wider private equity, debt and proprietary balance sheet capital, in order to provide a ‘Complete Connected Capital’ solution for our portfolio. Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC”. www.mercia.co.uk
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