SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Verge Genomics, a drug discovery company utilizing machine learning to develop new therapeutics, announced today that it has raised $32 million in Series A financing led by DFJ. New biotech investors WuXi AppTec's Corporate Venture Fund, ALS Investment Fund, Agent Capital, and OS Fund also participated in the round. The oversubscribed round brings Verge's total funding raised to-date to more than $36 million. With this round, Emily Melton of DFJ will join Verge Genomics' Board of Directors. Founded in 2015, Verge intersects machine learning, neuroscience, and experimental biology to accelerate drug discovery.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is continuing to make waves in the life sciences industry, with today's announcement that a drug-discovery company called Verge Genomics has landed $32 million in Series A financing. Based in San Francisco, Verge Genomics uses machine learning and sprawling data sets to identify new therapeutics for neurological diseases. Since its founding in 2015, the startup has nurtured "lead therapeutic programs" and built proprietary genomic data sets for Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Investors nodded to those advances and Verge Genomics' roster of diverse experts when they announced the windfall. Read: Which Health-Tech Startups Are Making Money in 2018?
Alice Zhang appeared on Forbes' 2017 list of the 30 Under 30 in Science.Jamel Toppin for Forbes Alice Zhang, 29, was a graduate student at UCLA when she decided there was a tremendous opportunity to speed up the process of drug development. "I started becoming frustrated with how drug discovery was done. I viewed it as a guessing game and largely focused on single targets. In our lab, we were finding that literally hundreds of targets were causing disease. We could start taking the guesswork out of drug discovery."
Drug discovery needed to change. The low-hanging fruit had been harvested, but the biopharma industry, in the words of Deep Genomics CEO Brendan Frey, is still shoving the tree until an apple falls. "Making drugs has traditionally been a gambling game. Big Pharma is throwing a stick into the tree and seeing what happens," Frey told FierceBiotech. "It's like the Big Pharma companies come into a casino, put a million-dollar coin into a slot machine and with some probability like 10% or something, they get a win."