CAMBRIDGE, Mass., March 31, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- New Equilibrium, the pioneer in rational drug design against intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs), has closed a $10 million seed from RA Capital Management. New Equilibrium's platform reveals previously-undetectable opportunities for structure-based design by learning biophysics with AI. The seed will scale up New Equilibrium's R&D facility, expand the team, and accelerate programs targeting IDPs while exploring strategic partnerships.
Dysregulation of IDPs—including the notorious p53—causes cancer, neurodegeneration, and other diseases. These shape-shifting proteins have stymied drug development, being intractable to the structure-determination methods that enable modern rational design.
"By encoding quantum chemistry in AI models, we identify structural details that inform drug discovery," said Dr. Virginia Burger, Founder and CEO of New Equilibrium. "Augmenting physics-based simulations with AI also allows us to harness strategic hardware, accelerating the vast computations needed to describe IDP dynamics. To model larger systems over longer timescales than ever before, we are building toward the hardware of the future."
"Dr. Burger has worked for a decade on the frontiers of AI, computational biophysics, and IDPs, uniquely positioning her to lead this multidisciplinary endeavor," said Nathaniel Brooks Horwitz, Principal at RA Capital and Board Director at New Equilibrium. "At RA Capital, we have sought the company best positioned to ultimately design medicines with quantum computing. New Equilibrium is that company."
Prior to founding New Equilibrium in 2019, Dr. Burger led scientific collaborations at the AI drug discovery company XtalPi and performed postdoctoral research in IDP biophysics at MIT. Her co-founder, Dr. Peter Tompa, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, is a Professor of Biochemistry at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) who has spearheaded research on the relationship between IDP structure and function since the field emerged.
New Equilibrium previously closed $350,000 in grants from the National Science Foundation and Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, as well as a $250,000 pre-seed from the Petri Life Sciences Incubator in Boston. Petri committed an additional $500,000 to the $10 million seed.
"Dr. Burger manifests our values at Petri, and Dr. Tompa literally wrote the book on disordered proteins," said Dr. Tony Kulesa, one of Petri's founders. "New Equilibrium exemplifies how scientist-CEO founders can rapidly scale startups. We are excited that the Petri model enabled New Equilibrium to attract investment from a biotech investor and company builder that can take the company all the way to IPO."
RA Capital's Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Head of Computational Chemistry, Dr. Soumya Ray—previously at Schrödinger—will join New Equilibrium as Chief Technology Officer.
About New Equilibrium Biosciences:
Virginia Burger, Ph.D. and Peter Tompa, Ph.D. founded New Equilibrium in 2019 to discover new medicines for patients with life-threatening diseases. NEQ's platform marries AI and biophysics to reveal experimentally-invisible conformations of shapeshifting proteins. This first-in-kind technology enables the rational design of drugs targeting the elusive class of intrinsically disordered proteins, including many of the most desirable targets for cancer, neurodegeneration, and other indications. Supported by a world-class Scientific Advisory Board, New Equilibrium has attracted grant and venture funding to build a cross-disciplinary team of experts in AI, biophysics, and quantum chemistry. To learn more, please visit www.newequilibriumbio.com.
SOURCE New Equilibrium Biosciences