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Anagenex Closes $30 Million Series A Round led by Catalio to Advance Small Molecule Drug Discovery with a Novel, Directed Evolution Platform

Anagenex, a pioneering drug discovery company pairing large-scale data generation with machine learning to discover the next generation of small molecule medicines, announced that it has closed a $30 million Series A financing round led by Catalio Capital Management, with participation from existing investors Lux Capital, Khosla Ventures, Obvious Ventures, Air Street Capital, and Menlo Ventures. Catalio’s George Petrocheilos and Dr. Matthew Hobson will be joining the company’s Board as a Director and Observer respectively. Anagenex will use its Series A funds to further expand its novel data generating platform and build a robust pipeline of programs addressing historically challenging unmet medical needs.

“Traditional small molecule drugs, which account for the majority of FDA approvals, remain the best and most cost-effective medicines for most patients,” said Nicolas Tilmans, CEO of Anagenex. “However, they are still very challenging to develop. At Anagenex we’ve built a closed-loop iterative system inspired by evolution that alternates between massive lab experiments and next-generation, machine learning-powered predictions so that we can deliver novel small molecule medicines to patients faster.”

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The Anagenex platform iteratively assesses up to billions of compounds in parallel to generate extraordinarily high quality data. First, Anagenex experimentally tests billions of compounds in parallel using a mix of technologies such as DNA Encoded Libraries (DELs) and Affinity Selected Mass Spectrometry. Those measurements feed into proprietary machine learning (ML) algorithms that consider not only the results of that experiment, but also hundreds of billions of other datapoints from internal databases. The trained ML models then design the next “evolved” generation of compounds to test, which Anagenex then synthesizes and tests. This creates a virtuous cycle of real data perfecting ML models, in turn, driving better data with each cycle. Armed with these enormous datasets and highly accurate models, Anagenex has the tools to address some of the hardest targets in drug discovery.

“We see a lot of platform technologies, but were blown away by Anagenex’s potential to fundamentally reshape how small molecule drugs are discovered,” said George Petrocheilos, General Partner at Catalio. “Going after targets that have frustrated the industry for decades is always a risky business. The power and efficiency of Anagenex’s platform makes that risk tolerable, especially considering the potential payout.”

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Since beginning operations in the fall of 2020, Anagenex has built a customized parallel biochemistry lab miniaturizing, automating and carefully measuring every step in its parallel processes. This means Anagenex can rapidly generate data of unmatched quality, giving its ML algorithms an unprecedented clear view of chemical space.

“At Lux, we’ve repeatedly seen how merging state-of-the-art computational tools with custom built lab operations transforms drug discovery to bring innovative medicines to patients,” said Zavain Dar, founding investor and Venture Partner at Lux Capital. “By controlling its process from start to finish, Anagenex’s expert team can build tailored neural networks and lab methodologies to achieve game-changing results.”

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[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

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