TwoXAR Grabs $3.4M for Algorithm-Based Drug Discovery

Xconomy San Francisco — 

One of the most frustrating aspects of drug discovery is the years spent testing drug candidates in the lab against various diseases they could treat. A new startup that received a $3.4 million seed round from Andreessen Horowitz has developed a method of expediting the process using algorithms.

Palo Alto, CA-based TwoXAR is using computations that are intended to find “unanticipated associations” between drugs and diseases in early stage discovery, the company said in a statement. The company has developed what it says are proprietary algorithms, which are patent pending, to scour public and proprietary datasets that could potentially match drugs with diseases.

TwoXAR says that its platform, which it calls DUMA, can do more than assess data to generate a new drug candidate; it can assess the efficacy of an existing therapeutic, the company says on its website. The technology has been tested on more than 20 diseases to date, TwoXAR says.

“We are working to disrupt the economics of drug discovery and accelerate the delivery of more effective medicines to patients fighting rare and common illnesses,” said Andrew A. Radin, CEO and co-founder of the company.

The funding is being used to develop new and existing partnerships that focus on drug candidates for metabolic and neurological disease, as well as to make hires in its engineering and commercial teams, TwoXAR says. The company currently has seven employees. The investment was joined by the company’s existing investors, CLI Ventures and the Stanford-StartX Fund.

Andreessen Horowitz funded the seed round from a new $200 million bio fund it announced alongside the TwoXAR news. Vijay Pande, a professor of chemistry, computer science, and structural biology at Stanford, is joining the firm as a general partner dedicated to the fund.

TwoXAR was founded in 2014 by Radin—a Stanford grad who developed the algorithms and has been a chief technology officer in previous jobs—and another man with almost the exact same name: Andrew M. Radin, the chief business officer, who is a former venture capital and private equity investor.