Startups Venture

Cyclica Raises $17M Series B To Decentralize Drug Discovery

The road to making medicine is long, costly and extremely complex. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, on average, a new drug takes 12 years and $2.6 billion dollars to develop, all while new discoveries in human biology happen every day.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

Toronto biotechnology company Cyclica aims to decentralize the discovery of better medicine using artificial intelligence and protein biophysics to reduce failure rates and timelines to the clinic, Naheed Kurji, co-founder, president and CEO of Cyclica told Crunchbase News.

Investors are taking note: the company announced Wednesday a CA$23 million ($17 million) Series B round of funding led by Drive Capital with participation from Chiesi Farmaceutici, GreenSky Capital, and members of Cyclica’s management team. The company has raised a total of CA$37.5 million, which includes a Series A raised in two tranches in 2017, Kurji said.

Cyclica’s unique business model was what attracted Drive Capital to invest in the company, Molly Bonakdarpour, Drive Capital partner, said in a written statement.

“They’ve created a diversified portfolio of assets across therapeutic indications through a partnership model,” she said. “At the same time, they continue to collaborate with multinational companies. These companies represent strategic partnership options for the Cyclica portfolio. Cyclica is enabling world-class biotech companies while increasing their probability of success.”

Cyclica’s platform is focused on value, Kurji said.

“The value for us comes from the drug: How can we own as much of an asset without becoming a biotech company? We are deeply considering what is value and how to capture as much as we can in a risk-adjusted way,” he said.

One of the ways the company is doing that is through drug discovery joint ventures with other companies, as well as partnering with academia to spin off companies in which Cyclica would have an equity position. The company already has 30 such programs focusing on a wide range of diseases and plans to increase that to 300 over the next few years, Kurji said.

Part of new funding will go toward those programs, he said, as well as to support continued innovation around Cyclica’s integrated proteome-wide drug discovery platform, as well as expand its application within the pharma industry. It will also support expansion into adjacent sectors, such as agro-chemicals.

“We are more than just about achieving revenue. We aim to build steadfast and long-term relationships with these companies,” Kurji said. “At the end of the day, they represent buyers for our portfolio companies that are helping us create the biotech pipeline of the future.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

Copy link