Co-Founder and CEO Chris Gibson, PhD
2019 was a pivotal year for AI-enabled drug discovery. At Recursion, we amassed the world’s largest biological images dataset fit for the purpose of machine learning, now just over 4 petabytes of data. In June we released some of that data to the broader machine learning community as part of our RxRx1 competition, alerting a growing field of professionals to the power of applying machine learning to complex biology. In July we added Baillie Gifford to our roster of investors as part of our $122 million Series C financing — Baillie Gifford is an extended horizon investor with a strong track record of early investment in potentially world-changing life sciences companies like Juno Therapeutics, Illumina, Denali Therapeutics, Ginkgo Bioworks, and Flatiron Health. And by year’s end, we’ve advanced two clinical-stage assets and are working on more than 16 pre-clinical programs, expanding our focus beyond repurposing compounds in rare diseases into New Chemical Entity discovery in broader therapeutic areas such as inflammation, immuno-oncology and infectious disease.
Recursion scientists working in the lab.
Beyond Recursion we’ve seen increasingly bigger bets on AI and ML for drug discovery: Novartis combined forces with Microsoft; Insitro landed a partnership with Gilead; and Flagship’s Cellarity entered the space with its approach to studying cell behavior.
This sector of AI-enabled drug discovery, which just two years ago life sciences investor Bruce Booth called “far far away” from making drugs, now feels substantially closer to developing novel medicines that transform the lives of patients and their families.
Today we are spinning out our first subsidiary company headed by life sciences industry veteran Dr. Mani Mohindru.
Spinning companies out of Recursion to take clinical-stage assets to market has been a long-imagined tenet of our strategy. As a company with equal parts data science, engineering, biology, and chemistry, we have been laser-focused on developing and scaling a platform that rapidly generates a robust pipeline of new drug candidates. And as we see the early fruits of that work moving into later stages of clinical development – and knowing a lack of focus can be the kiss of death for any startup – we want to double-down where we know we have built something powerful, unique and industry-leading. And because our mission includes radically improving the lives of patients, we plan to partner with exceptional individuals and companies throughout the industry to help take our clinical-stage assets to patients.
Dr. Mani Mohindru, the new CEO of Recursion’s first subsidiary company.
And so with that in mind, today we spin-out our first subsidiary to shepherd our lead clinical-stage asset for Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2). The leader of this spin-out will have the privilege of working with patients, industry peers, life science investors, and Recursion’s technical and scientific resources to rapidly investigate the potential of our asset for the treatment of NF2. The importance of this work requires a dynamic CEO with the power to move things forward independent of our daily ambition at Recursion. Enter: Dr. Mani Mohindru.
Mani operates at the intersection of science and strategy: she has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Northwestern, spent years on Wall Street as a biotech research analyst, served as a strategic consultant to biopharma, and most recently was the Chief Financial and Chief Strategic Officer at Cara Therapeutics (Nasdaq:CARA). She has the deep scientific and business acumen we need at the helm of our startups.
I am thrilled to have Mani on-board and working alongside us as we chip away at our vision to become a company of companies, together tirelessly pursuing the achievement of our mission: to decode biology to radically improve lives. Please join me in welcoming Mani to the broader Recursion family! And if you would like to meet with her at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in a couple weeks to discuss our NF2 program, please drop her a line.