We’ve all read the headlines of people with diseases or illnesses that end up not surviving due to the inability to pay for the necessary medicines. While these stories are heartbreaking, they probably won’t go away anytime in the near future.
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But a new startup has emerged that is hoping to make that problem go away sooner, rather than later.
EQRx, a biotech company aimed at creating less expensive medicine, has raised a massive $200 million Series A as first reported by Axios this morning. Specifically, the startup’s mission is to develop patent-protected drugs that will cost less than similar medicines.
An impressive list of backers participated in the financing, including GV, ARCH Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Casdin Capital, Section 32, Nextech and Arboretum Ventures.
Cambridge, Mass.-based EQRx says its goal is to take the traditional drug delivery model and essentially turn it on its head. What it’s planning is ambitious and if the company can pull it off it would be revolutionary. Its goal is to re-engineer the process by which drugs are made by creating “novel, patent-protected medicines at prices that are more affordable for people and sustainable for healthcare systems.”
Not just more affordable. EQRx says its medicines and therapies will be available “at dramatically lower prices.” Chairman and CEO Alexis Borisy said technological advances have made treating certain diseases easier than in years past. Yet, those advances aren’t being passed on to people in the way of lower prices.
“The time is now for a market-based solution to rising drug costs,” said Borisy, a serial healthcare entrepreneur who most recently served as partner at Third Rock Ventures for over a decade. (Borisy reportedly made “an unexpected exit” from Third Rock last year to pursue this venture. Notably, the firm is not an investor in EQRx.)
Dr. Krishna Yeshwant, a general partner at GV, said EQRx’s business model will “deliver a sustainable approach for creating, reinvesting in and rewarding therapeutics innovation, while ensuring these new medicines are broadly accessible to people and healthcare systems through dramatically lower pricing.”
Meanwhile, $200 million Series A rounds are certainly not the norm, but not as unusual as they used to be as the definition of stages continues to evolve– a phenomenon we looked at here and here.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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