Turbine Upsizes its Series A Round to €25.5 Million and Appoints Seasoned Independent Directors to its Board

20 June 2023

 

Turbine, a company that uses cell simulations to guide biopharma R&D and bring the right drug to every patient in need, has successfully added €5.5 million from MassMutual Ventures (MMV) to its recently closed Series A financing round. This investment brings the company’s oversubscribed Series A round to €25.5 million and adds further U.S.-based investors to the company’s financing syndicate. Alongside the funding, Turbine announced the appointments of four independent directors to its board.

Today’s milestones add to Turbine’s recent momentum, which has included building cutting-edge lab facilities in Budapest and entering a significant collaboration with Cancer Research Horizons. The latest funding will be used to advance Turbine’s internal pipeline of simulation-guided programs, while scaling its biology simulation platform to support additional partnerships.

Turbine’s platform overcomes the limitations of traditional drug discovery approaches by combining cell simulation and machine learning to uncover novel cancer therapies and the patients most likely to benefit from them”, said Anvesh Ramineni, Managing Partner at MMV. “We believe Turbine’s unique approach has tremendous potential to guide biopharma R&D in a new direction using actionable insights gathered from deep expertise in the simulation of biological mechanisms – we look forward to working with Turbine to help unlock its full potential.

Turbine’s simulations can represent patient populations that existing biological models cannot. They also have the capacity to perform assays that would be impractical to conduct at scale and with high throughput. A proprietary closed-loop learning process validates promising hypotheses in Turbine’s in vitro and in vivo assays, leading to a constantly evolving model of cancer biology.

The result is an innovation engine that continues to reveal novel targets, biomarkers and drug combinations that have been experimentally validated and are often missed by existing methods such as CRISPR. Clinically, these targets have been associated with patient populations with high unmet need.

Supported by companies such as Bayer and MSD (Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway NJ, USA), Turbine has multiple in vivo validated novel assets in its proprietary and partnered pipeline.

The support of MassMutual Ventures, a leading global investor with close ties to the U.S. market, and the enthusiasm of the experts who have joined our board validate Turbine’s potential,” said Szabolcs Nagy, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Turbine. “These individuals have personally built leading technology platforms supercharging drug development globally. Their buy-in shows that our platform is differentiated and poised to unlock truly novel therapies for currently underserved patient populations through efficient, simulation-guided development. With the additional funding and board appointments, we are set to accelerate the validation of our approach by advancing multiple programs and partnerships toward the ultimate test of any biopharma technology platform – human clinical trials.

The four newly appointed independent directors are:

    • Milind Kamkolkar, COO of Paradigm, a healthcare technology company focused on improving access to clinical research for patients. Previously, Mr. Kamkolkar was an early employee and Chief Data Officer of Cellarity, an integrated drug discovery multi-therapeutic company with a novel approach to drug discovery leveraging single cell data, machine learning and experimental biology. Earlier in his career, Mr. Kamkolkar served in enterprise data science, digital & AI leadership roles at Sanofi and Novartis. Milind believes Turbine’s team and approach is highly complementary to the current drug discovery efforts approaches to understand disease biology.

 

    • Jane Rhodes, Ph.D., M.B.A., Chief Business Officer at Verge Genomics, a clinical stage AI-enabled drug discovery and development company. Dr. Rhodes brings more than 25 years of drug discovery, company building and strategic leadership in the biotech industry, including 18 years at Biogen. Based on her work in the digital health space, she co-founded Qr8 Health, a software development company pioneering the development of clinically validated patient assessment tools. Dr. Rhodes currently serves as Executive Chair of the Board at Pheno Therapeutics. She is passionate about the intersection of life science and technology and was drawn to Turbine for its distinction as a life sciences disruptor founded outside of the United States.

 

    • Bernd Seizinger, M.D., Ph.D., has been a senior executive/CEO, as well as a chairman, board member, and entrepreneur in multiple public and private biotech and pharma companies in the U.S. and Europe. He is currently on the board of directors of seven U.S. and European biotech companies, mostly in oncology, and he also serves on advisory boards of two biotech venture capital funds. Previously, Dr. Seizinger served as President and CEO of GPC Biotech, as Vice President of Oncology Drug Discovery at Bristol Myers Squibb (where, in parallel, he also served as Vice President of Corporate and Academic Alliances), and as Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Genome Therapeutics. Prior to his corporate appointments, he held professorships/senior faculty positions at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Princeton University. Dr. Seizinger believes the systematic application of AI, particularly as driven by highly innovative and nimble companies such as Turbine, has potential to add value to the entire pharmaceutical value chain.

 

    • Lars Staal Wegner, M.D., Partner at Bristlecone Pacific, a venture capital firm that invests evidence-based solutions to extend healthy human lifespan. As chairperson of Turbine’s board, Dr. Wegner draws on his deep experience in artificial intelligence and biotechnology finance, business development, and research. He has helped build numerous companies within the biotech, diagnostics, and IT spaces, and sits on multiple boards. Earlier in his career, Dr. Wegner served as CEO of Evaxion Biotech, which develops AI-powered immunotherapies, and in roles of increasing responsibility at Bavarian Nordic A/S, including as Vice President Commercial Affairs, during which time he contributed to the development of the company’s ebola vaccine. Dr. Wegner believes Turbine’s pairing of AI with advanced biotechnology gives it potential to powerfully impact the future of healthcare.

 

About MassMutual Ventures

MassMutual Ventures (MMV) is a multistage global venture capital firm investing in financial technology, enterprise SaaS, climate technology, healthtech, and cybersecurity. With teams based in Boston, Singapore, and London, MMV manages over $1 billion in investment capital across the globe. We help accelerate the growth of the companies we partner with by providing capital, connections and advice. With our deep expertise and extensive Fortune 500 network, MMV helps entrepreneurs build compelling and scalable companies of value. For more information, visit www.massmutualventures.com.

About Turbine AI

Based in London, UK, with offices in Budapest, Hungary and Cambridge, UK, Turbine was founded in 2015 by Kristof Szalay, Ph.D., Daniel Veres, M.D., Ph.D., Szabolcs Nagy and Ivan Fekete, M.D. The team’s vision is to overcome the current limitations in identifying oncology treatments with true patient benefit by combining molecular biology and interpretable machine learning. Turbine’s latest investment round (Series A) was closed in 2022, co-led by MSD (Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway NJ, USA) Global Health Innovation Fund (GHIF) and Mercia Asset Management, who were joined by both new and existing investors Delin Ventures, Day One Capital, Accel, Atlantic Labs, XTX Ventures, o2h Ventures and Boston Millenia Partners.

Turbine engineers a cell simulation platform to reflect patient populations that current biological models do not and simulates assays unfeasible to run at scale. A closed learning loop validates promising simulations through proprietary in vitro and in vivo assays, leading to a model of cancer biology with the ability to evolve alongside any augmented pipeline. Turbine’s end-to-end in silico guidance can improve the likelihood of success for truly novel therapies and allow existing assets to be optimally targeted at the best responder patients. The Simulated Cell™ platform has already revealed multiple novel targets, biomarkers and drug combinations that target high unmet need patient populations missed by existing methods like CRISPR.

Supported by companies like Bayer and MSD GHIF, Turbine has multiple in vivo validated assets in its proprietary and partnered pipeline with Cancer Research Horizons and multiple top pharma companies.

Turbine is leveraging its platform to develop a stream of programs pursuing high unmet oncology need, expanding from an early focus on overcoming resistance to DNA Damage Response (DDR) inhibitors. Turbine is open to collaborate on extending its pipeline to various modalities and cancer mechanisms. For more information, visit www.turbine.ai or follow Turbine on LinkedIn.

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