MALVERN, Pa., Dec. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- 20n Bio (20n), an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered drug discovery company focusing on designing new proteins for therapeutics, has raised a $3.3 million seed round led by BlueRun Ventures China. 20n Bio will use the proceeds from the financing to expand its scientific team, establish a robust discovery platform, and start multiple early studies in oncology and other genetic diseases.
20n was founded by Dr. Mingfu Zhu in September 2021 with its lab in Malvern, PA. Prior to 20n, Dr. Zhu was an assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center and held multiple executive roles at leading US and Chinese biotech companies. Dr. Zhu is an expert in computational genomics and co-founded several artificial AI-powered biotech companies in drug discovery and cancer diagnostics.
Recent advances in algorithms and computing power have kindled substantial interest in rational protein design from both academia and industry. However, the astronomical search space remains a significant barrier to success: designing a protein with n amino acids has 20n possible combinations. 20n's core technologies integrate advanced algorithms and high-throughput in vitro technologies to design protein binders with desired biophysical, functional, and pharmacological properties that interact with drug targets of interest.
"The successful development of COVID-19 vaccines by Biontech and Moderna demonstrates the great potential of mRNA therapeutics. In addition to mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer, there is substantial interest in developing mRNA-encoded proteins as drugs," said Mingfu Zhu. "20n focuses on designing novel mRNA-encoded proteins for therapeutics. We have identified unique use cases to fully leverage the potential of protein binders. With the vision to generate protein drugs in silico on demand, we have assembled a talented team experienced in antibody development, computational biology, molecular biology, and RNA biology to achieve our goals."
"BlueRun Ventures invests in cutting-edge technologies and appreciates the power of AI in drug discovery and development," added BlueRun Ventures Managing Director and 20n board member Terry Zhu. "We believe 20n's AI-powered protein design platform holds tremendous promise, and we are very proud to lead the initial financing round to support the company's vision to find effective treatments for a wide range of devastating diseases."
20n plans to quickly expand its current team of five full-time Ph.D.-level employees by hiring more computational protein engineers and RNA biologists. The company recently added two computational structural biologists Dr. Yaoqi Zhou at Shenzhen Bay Laboratory, and Dr. Longxing Cao at Westlake University who is a finalist of the MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 Asia Pacific 2021 to its Scientific Advisory Board.
About 20n Bio
20n Bio is a VC-backed start-up dedicated to the computational design of novel protein therapeutics. Launched in 2021 and located in Malvern PA, its mission is addressing unmet medical needs by leveraging artificial intelligence to generate protein drugs in silico with desired biophysical, functional, and pharmacological properties. Learn more about 20n Bio by visiting http://20n.bio/ or following the company on LinkedIn.
About BlueRun Ventures China
Having its heritage in Silicon Valley since 1998 and entered China in 2005, BlueRun Ventures (BRV) China is the country's leading early-stage venture capital firm. Since 2005, the firm has managed over $1.5 billion through multiple USD and RMB denominated funds. BRV China has invested in hundreds of promising startups and has experienced numerous successful IPOs and M&A exits. BRV China looks for innovative companies in enterprise services, hardware technology, health care, and new consumer sectors.
SOURCE 20n Bio