A16z-backed twoXAR strikes software-driven drug discovery pact

Palo Alto

TwoXAR has teamed up with the University of Chicago to apply its software-driven approach to drug discovery to the identification of potential treatments for atherosclerosis. The IT-enabled R&D shop, which was the first firm to receive funding from Andreessen Horowitz’s $200 million biotech fund, will identify candidates for preclinical testing by its academic collaborator.

Palo Alto, CA-based twoXAR is one of a clutch of West Coast startups that is aiming to shorten drug discovery timelines through the application of algorithms. In the the alliance with the University of Chicago, twoXAR is aiming its algorithms at datasets relating to atherosclerosis, a disease associated with the clogging up of the arteries. TwoXAR thinks that it can identify compounds with the potential to treat the condition by generating a mathematical drug-disease model.

Whether this idea translates into an effective drug discovery model remains to be seen, but twoXAR is bullish about its new alliance. “Within hours, we were able to identify 10 leads with acceptable safety profiles and literature evidence for efficacy to carry forward in preclinical testing. Additionally, our disease models are helping reveal new information about the molecular mechanisms underlying arteriosclerosis,” twoXAR Co-Founder and CEO Andrew Radin said in a statement.

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The University of Chicago will run in vitro and in vivo tests to see how twoXAR’s safety and efficacy predictions play out in the lab. For twoXAR, these tests provide it with another opportunity to gain external validation of its claims that it can discover promising candidates far faster than is possible using traditional wet-lab approaches. The startup also has a rare disease collaboration with Stanford University.

TwoXAR is bankrolling the advance of its platform with $3.4 million it picked up late last year from Andreessen Horowitz, the big-name Silicon Valley VC shop that has a new fund at the intersection of IT and biotech.

- read the release

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