Nimbus bags $210 million to fuel computational drug discovery

By Jonathan Smith

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Small molecule drugs Small molecule Drug discovery

The U.S. company Nimbus Therapeutics has raised $210 million in a financing round to fund the development of small molecule drugs powered by computational drug discovery.

New investor Google Ventures (GV) co-led the round with Nimbus’ existing investors SR One and Atlas Venture. Other investors that participated in the round included an undisclosed U.S. investor and existing investors including Bain Capital Life Sciences, BVF Partners L.P., and more.

Nimbus plans to use the funding to continue the clinical development of its lead program in phase 1/2 development. The compound blocks a protein called hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 (HPK1) to activate immune T cells against cancer.

Nimbus will also advance preclinical programs into and through early clinical development. These include a drug candidate designed to treat a subset of solid tumors by blocking Werner syndrome helicase (WRN) and another program in autoimmune disease with an undisclosed target.

In parallel, the company is developing metabolic disease treatments in a collaboration with Eli Lilly worth up to $496 million. The treatments are designed to tackle metabolic conditions by activating an energy-sensing protein called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).

Nimbus uses a blend of technology including X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy to map out drug targets on protein structures, sometimes for proteins that have not been successfully mapped before. The firm then taps into the technology and physics expertise of its founding partner Schrödinger to design small molecules that can bind to the targets.

The funding round comes months after Nimbus sold its subsidiary Nimbus Lakshmi and phase 2-stage drug candidate to Takeda for an impressive $4 billion upfront and up to $2 billion in commercial milestone payments in December 2022.

“Nimbus has demonstrated its ability to advance early science through to successful product development multiple times,” said Rajeev Dadoo, Managing Partner at SR One, in a public statement. “We eagerly anticipate what lies ahead, and we look forward to being part of the company’s next chapter.”

Nimbus’ funding round also came on the same day as a $226.5 million Series C financing round closed by the U.K.-U.S. firm Apollo Therapeutics led by Patient Square Capital. Apollo is using the money to finance the development of its large pipeline, which includes programs in oncology, major inflammatory disorders and rare diseases.

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