A new dawn in drug discovery — why we tripled down on Eikon Therapeutics
By: Dror Berman and Nick Olsen
We are excited to announce the tripling down of our initial investment in Eikon Therapeutics with its most recent $517.8 million Series B financing.
With this financing, we reaffirm our belief that Eikon is well-positioned to be one of the most impactful companies in the latest biotech revolution — a combination of novel approaches in advanced instrumentation, robotics, computer science, medicinal chemistry, and molecular and cellular biology — that promises faster iteration cycles, new biological insights, and ultimately novel treatments to patients that improve and extend life. We’ve worked with the team since the earliest days, and have been inspired by the growth from the idea phase to a company helmed by one of the best management teams in the industry.
As we described in our first post on our investment in Eikon, we are moved by platform technologies that unlock novel data modalities, and especially so when that data comes from living biological systems. As CEO Roger Perlmutter likes to say, “whenever a new measurement system emerges, you’re going to learn a lot of new biology”; we could not be more thrilled to continue to support this team in their mission to leverage live cell super-resolution microscopy in drug discovery. Biology is dense, dynamic, and highly context-specific; if we’re going to change the status quo of drug discovery, we need tools that are able to capture, interrogate, and begin to make sense of this complexity.
Eikon is doing this at a scale not previously possible. The extensively multidisciplinary team has custom-built or customized nearly every layer of the hardware, software, and wet lab stack, and with this, the highly automated microscopes will soon be generating nearly half a petabyte of data per day. To handle, clean, store, and pipe this much data is a significant software engineering effort. But in order to make sense of this information, to annotate at scale, to understand the biological significance, we need sophisticated computational frameworks, machine learning, and scientists fluent in the worlds of biology, chemistry, and computer science. The scope of this problem is huge, and is the reason why the software engineering teams at Eikon (like the rest of the organization) are extraordinary, and collectively the single largest function in the company.
Eikon is the epitome of the Super Evolution, and we’re proud to support them. If you want to work at the cutting edge of technology and are similarly inspired by this mission, we hope you’ll join us — there is a lot of biology to uncover.