David Baker, head of Seattle’s Institute for Protein Design, launches London biotech startup

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IPD director David Baker. (IPD Photograph)

Prolific biotech co-founder and College of Washington scientist David Baker, head of the UW Institute for Protein Design, has launched a brand new firm.

Allure Therapeutics, primarily based in London, harnesses deep studying to uncover new compounds in opposition to targets for most cancers and different therapeutic areas. The corporate this week introduced $50 million in Collection A financing.

Baker is a scientific co-founder together with CEO Laksh Aithani, beforehand a machine studying engineer at drug discovery firm Exscientia and founding father of Genei, one other computationally-powered biotech firm.

Allure Therapeutics’ deep studying platform, DragonFold, was developed by Baker and Aithani, based on an announcement saying the launch of the brand new firm Thursday.

DragonFold is designed to seek out new small molecule therapeutics in opposition to protein targets. Such small molecules have the potential to intervene with proteins within the physique that management all the pieces from cell division to cell progress.

The software can predict the co-crystal construction of a protein certain to a small molecule. And as enter it wants solely the chemical construction of the small molecule and the sequence of the protein.

A protein (purple) interacting with a small molecule ligand (inexperienced) in DragonFold. (Allure Picture)

Baker’s 100-person lab on the UW has been the supply of a number of protein design spinouts primarily based in Seattle. Baker has beforehand co-founded 9 corporations and advises 18 others, based on IPD’s web site.

IPD spinouts embody Neoleukin Therapeutics, whose fully-engineered compound for stable tumors is in early medical trials; Cyrus Biotechnology, which companions with different biopharma corporations to design medication, and vaccine firm Icosavax, which raised $180 million in its IPO final summer season.

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Final winter, IPD’s deep studying software RoseTTAFold, developed by Minkyung Baek and her colleagues, took house Science journal’s Breakthrough of the Yr award. That software and one other by Alphabet’s DeepMind, surprised scientists with their pace and accuracy at predicting how proteins fold into three dimensions.

However DragonFold is a totally completely different mannequin than both RoseTTAFold or DeepMind’s software, Aithani advised Endpoints Information.

Baker’s spinouts be a part of a rising record of biotech corporations leveraging computational instruments for drug growth. Alphabet spun out Isomorphic Labs to leverage DeepMind’s software program for drug design final November, and final spring Insitro landed $400 million in enterprise funding and Recursion pulled in $436 million in its IPO.

Allure’s Collection A funding spherical was led by F-Prime Capital and OrbiMed. Different members had been Basic Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Braavos and Axial.

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