Engine Biosciences secures US$42M to scale its drug discovery platform and prepare for clinical trials

Engine Biosciences co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Lu

Engine Biosciences, a Singapore- and US-based drug discovery company, has raised close to US$42 million (S$57 million) in Series A financing from a slew of investors.

Led by Polaris Partner, the round was also joined by Invus, 6 Dimensions Capital, WuXi AppTec, DHVC, EDBI, Baidu Ventures, Vectr Ventures, Goodman Capital, WI Harper, and Nest.Bio.

This comes after over three years after its raised US$10 million seed funding from leading US, Singapore and China-based VCs and multi-stage investors.

Engine will use the newly raised capital to expand its portfolio of precision oncology therapeutics, prepare for its first clinical programmes, and scale its tech platform.

Founded in 2018, Engine’s technology combines biological experimentation with AI to discover and develop better therapies for human diseases

By understanding and testing genetic interactions, it can decipher biological networks to enable more rational drug discovery for both single and combination therapies.

Compared with conventional drug discovery approaches, which are too slow and costly to test and map the huge number of genetic interactions that underlie diseases, Engine’s platform drives orders-of-magnitude gains in speed and scale.

Also Read: Singapore biotech firm Austrianova secures US$100M investment

Two scientific innovations lie at the heart of Engine Biosciences are NetMAPPR and CombiGEM.

NetMAPPR is Engine’s searchable biology platform, revealing gene combinations and drug targets integral to diseases. Whereas, CombiGEM is a patented technology that tests hundreds of thousands of gene interactions experimentally in diseased cells.

The company has performed several large-scale computational and experimental cycles with respect to genetic interactions and their relevance to multiple cancers, claiming to yield new and subsequently validated discoveries.

“Many breakthrough tools to edit, programme, and modulate biology have emerged and matured in recent years. The fundamental question continues to be whether we know the disease-driving errors in the genetic code of biology to direct these tools, including therapeutics,” said Engine Biosciences’s co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Lu.

“We believe Engine’s AI-enabled technology platform has the potential to discover new biology targets and disease-causing links amongst known targets,” said Leon Chen, CEO and Founding Partner of 6 Dimensions Capital.

“Considering the field’s tremendous needs for the right drug targets for the right patients and Engine’s unique capabilities in finding those, we continue to be excited by Engine’s potential to power new medicines,” Chen added.

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Image Credit: Engine

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