Ten63 Therapeutics – a company combining generative AI and physics-based models to develop first- and best-in-class therapeutics – announced the closing of an oversubscribed $15.9 million Series A financing led by new investor Hatteras Venture Partners. And Morpheus Ventures, SOSV, Draper Associates, Alexandria Venture Investments, the Sigma Group, and other new investors also participated in the round.
This new phase of growth is going to build on Ten63’s unprecedented progress toward one of the most sought-after cancer therapeutics: a small-molecule drug targeting Myc.
Despite the advances in drug discovery, 80% of the proteins in the human body remain evasive, and some of these so-called “undruggable” proteins are believed to be major oncogenes (cancer-driving proteins). And Ten63 is progressing with multiple targets within its pipeline, but is currently only disclosing its lead program, a Myc inhibitor.
Plus Myc is one of the most-studied oncogenes and is believed to drive up to 70% of all cancers. And despite hundreds of attempts spanning 40 years, it remains infamously elusive. Ten63 believes the computational platform BEYOND has the potential to crack Myc, as well as other undruggable oncogenes, transforming the treatment landscape for patients. Ten63 developed the BEYOND platform based on over 15 years of academic research by its founders.
Drs. Marcel Frenkel, PhD (CEO of Ten63) and Mark Hallen, PhD, (Ten63’s co-founder and CTO) and their co-founder Bruce Donald, PhD, worked together for years on the academic precursors to these algorithms. And Dr. Donald, the James B. Duke Professor of Computer Science at Duke University and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, chairs Ten63’s scientific advisory board.
Their had work pioneered the prediction of resistance mutations to cancer drugs and antibiotics before they arise in the clinic and the application of ML to scale cutting-edge, quantum chemistry-based models to the massive chemical and conformational spaces needed for drug discovery. In addition to a groundbreaking computational protein and drug design background, launching Ten63 required a much broader range of expertise.
Plus Ten63 has assembled a visionary team of accomplished chemists, biologists and computational experts to accomplish its mission. The team ranges from experienced pharma executives like Nancy Miller-Rich, previously global head of BD and Strategy at Merck, and Melissa Epstein, formerly SVP at Novartis, to drug hunters like Stephen Thomson, PhD, formerly section head at GSK and research fellow at Vertex, and Charlie Holst, PhD, formerly senior director at Ribometrix and previously senior principal scientist at Pfizer. And the company also utilizes the the expertise of a world-class scientific advisory board, including two MacArthur (Genius) Fellowship award winners and one Squirrel AI award winner, as well as members of the National Academies of Medicine, Science and Engineering.
What the funding will be used for: The proceeds will be used to advance and expand Ten63’s internal pipeline of first-in-class small molecules inhibiting high-impact, but so far undruggable, cancer targets, including continued progression of its lead Myc inhibitor program. And key to Ten63’s pipeline is the continued development of BEYOND, Ten63’s proprietary computational drug discovery platform. The funding also allows Ten63 to selectively enter key strategic partnerships to further enhance its pipeline.
“We are thrilled to welcome some of the leading biotechnology and technology venture funds to accelerate our pipeline and platform. At Ten63, we are dedicated to developing groundbreaking therapeutics that benefit patients, and we are pleased to strengthen our syndicate with the experience and expertise to help us get there. Our investors have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to help companies grow to have a positive impact on patients’ lives. We look forward to building on that tradition.”
“Like many, (Dr. Frenkel’s mother Gilda Szacher Frenkel’s) cancer was driven by a set of mutations to key proteins that regulate cellular processes. Unfortunately, most of these proteins, despite being widely studied, remain undruggable by current methods. Ten63 has set out with a vengeance to change this paradigm through the application of next-generation computational drug discovery methods.”
— Marcel Frenkel, PhD, CEO of Ten63
“Marcel Frenkel, Mark Hallen and the Ten63 team have taken AI/machine learning (ML) drug discovery to the next level. Their approach enables the search of a massively expanded universe of compounds and binding pockets. We are excited to be a part of Ten63 and help the company leverage its platform to bring life-changing therapeutics to patients.”
— Clay Thorp, Co-Founder and General Partner at Hatteras and Ten63’s new Chairman of the Board
“We are more than doubling our investment because Ten63 has experimentally demonstrated in head-to-head comparisons that BEYOND outperforms over 40 years of academic and industry best-efforts and methods when pursuing difficult targets like Myc.”
— Damien Petty, Partner at Morpheus Ventures, the lead investor of Ten63’s previous round
“Rather than depending on data alone, BEYOND builds on molecular voxel theory (MVT). MVT allows BEYOND to explore a chemical space of over 100 trillion compounds, with mathematical guarantees to discover the best small molecule solutions given the company’s state-of-the-art hybrid AI/physics-based models. BEYOND also enables Ten63 to find novel pockets and binding sites, as well as a large diversity of chemical matter.”
— Mark Hallen, PhD, Ten63’s co-founder and CTO
“Ten63’s provable AI algorithms for the exploration of vast chemical and conformational spaces, combined with the accuracy of ML-accelerated quantum chemistry methods, have the potential to revolutionize how we design drugs,” said
— Weitao Yang, PhD, one of the world’s foremost experts in computational quantum chemistry and Ten63’s SAB member