LabGenius secures £35M Series B funding for therapeutic antibody discovery

The company is using its platform to address the challenge of on-target, off-tumour toxicity.
LabGenius secures £35M Series B funding for therapeutic antibody discovery

LabGenius, a drug discovery company pioneering the use of machine learning for the discovery of novel therapeutic antibodies has closed a £35 million Series B financing round. 

The investment brings LabGenius’ total funding to date to £58 million.

LabGenius is powered by EVA™: a smart robotic platform capable of designing, conducting and, critically, learning from its own experiments. This highly automated closed-loop discovery engine enables the rapid identification of high-performing antibodies with non-intuitive designs. 

The company is using its platform to address the challenge of on-target, off-tumour toxicity. Therapeutic antibodies target diseased cells by binding to surface markers that are present at higher-than-normal levels. In the case of solid tumours, a challenge with this approach is that sub-populations of healthy cells often express the same surface markers.

If a therapeutic antibody fails to differentiate between healthy and diseased cells expressing the same surface markers, on-target off-tumour killing will occur. Toxicity via this mechanism is a significant issue for many therapeutics in development. 

LabGenius’ pioneering technology platform uses an active learning method called Multi-Objective Bayesian Optimisation (MOBO) to enable the efficient co-optimisation of antibodies across multiple important properties.

In addition to being more efficient than conventional methods, the LabGenius process is also designed to be free from human bias and yields high-performing antibodies with non-intuitive designs. 

M Ventures (the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of science and technology company Merck) led the funding. Additional new investors Octopus Ventures and LG Corp participated, along with existing investors Atomico, Kindred Capital, Lux Capital, and Obvious Ventures. 

Oliver Hardick of M Ventures and Oliver Sims of Octopus Ventures have joined existing Directors Irina Haivas of Atomico, Leila Zegna of Kindred Capital, James Field (CEO) and Edwin Moses (Independent Chair) to form the Company’s new Board of Directors. 

Dr Oliver Hardick, of M Ventures, commented: 

“LabGenius’ differentiated ML-driven platform enables the rapid co-optimisation of complex multispecific antibodies across both disease-relevant cell-based assays and key developability assays.

The LabGenius approach has the potential to address many of the fundamental challenges faced by antibody engineers.”

Dr James Field, Chief Executive Officer of LabGenius, said:

“Being able to engineer complex multispecific antibodies has immense potential value.

I am inspired by the relentless drive that our team has shown in getting us to this important milestone and look forward to working with our investors as we accelerate the development of both our platform and pipeline.”

LabGenius will use the capital raised to expand the scope of its platform and progress a wholly-owned pipeline of multispecific antibodies towards the clinic. The extended platform capability will facilitate broader strategic partnerships across multiple therapeutic modalities.

Lead image: James Field from LabGenius and Oliver Hardick from M Ventures. Photo: uncredited. 

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