New investors, including GV, boost Relay in $63M round

Relay Therapeutics has bumped up its cash with a strong second funding round as it eyes clinical work on its next-generation cancer drug development.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup, a Fierce 15 winner in 2017, came out of stealth last September via VC Third Rock and with $57 million in tow.

The big idea? To realize the “dawn of the new generation of drug discovery,” as its CEO and ex-Allergan exec Sanjiv Patel, M.D., told us recently. How? To build a pipeline out of the biotech’s philosophy that seeing proteins in motion will reveal ways to hit previously undruggable targets. This work has advanced swiftly over the past year.

Relay now has four programs, all in oncology. Two of the programs are racing each other toward the clinic. Patel thinks they will reach human testing in early 2019, around which time Relay will start to open up more about its programs.

RELATED: Relay uncloaks with $57M Series A round to join the next-gen cancer race

And now, it has a new $63 million series B, with backing led by BVF Partners and with help from new investors GV (formerly Google Ventures), Casdin Capital, EcoR1 Capital and Section 32.

Existing investors Third Rock Ventures and Alexandria Venture Investments also kept their hand in.

“Proceeds from the financing will be used to advance Relay Therapeutics’ pipeline of oncology candidate medicines as they progress toward clinical trials,” the company says in a statement.

“The investment will also support deeper integration of a platform that leverages both best-in-class experimental and computational technologies to discover and develop a pipeline of novel, protein motion-based therapies,” it adds.

“Relay Therapeutics is at the nexus of applying experimentation and computation to drug discovery and development,” said Krishna Yeshwant, general partner at GV.

“The core thesis of modeling protein movement is a compelling addition to rational drug design approaches, and we look forward to working with Relay’s experienced team as they continue to build out the platform.”