A Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech startup with big plans for computational drug discovery work has lined up a $24 million financing round with the help of some high-profile investors, including Microsoft's billionaire chairman Bill Gates, according to FierceBiotech.
Nimbus Discovery said it raised $24 million from Gates, SR One (the corporate venture arm of GlaxoSmithKline) and Lilly Ventures, which all joined with the founding investors at Atlas Venture.
Nimbus is building its pipeline on the premise that it has access to the kind of discovery technology can lead to new drugs to hit some of the hardest targets in biotech. Its first targets are IRAK4 and ACC for inflammation, cancer and metabolic disease. Nimbus said it has already done significant pre-clinical work on IRAK4, which has implications for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and inflammation. And there are plans to add to the list of targets.
What makes Nimbus unique is its plan for a series of new drug programs, creating individual subsidiaries that can be sold off to pharma companies at an early point in development. An ultra-virtual company that's now two people—CSO Rosanna Kapeller and CBO Jonathan Montagu—Nimbus is using Schrodinger, a company co-founded by Columbia University's Richard Friesner, to provide the platform while Nimbus focuses on product development.
An early deal would both “help prove that this is an exciting new model for biotech," said Montagu, and start delivering relatively quick returns for the company's investors, as opposed to the standard model of delivering a single big exit with a buyout or IPO.