Amount: $400 million
Round: Series C
Investors: Alexandria Venture Investments, BVF Partners, Casdin Capital, an affiliate of D.E. Shaw Research, EcoR1 Capital, Foresite Capital, GV, Perceptive Advisors, SoftBank Vision Fund and Tavistock Group
The scoop: Relay Therapeutics ended 2018 with its biggest raise yet—a $400 million series C round to propel its mission of creating new treatments against targets previously considered undruggable. The mammoth round came just one year after a $63 million series B and two years after its official launch and relatively modest $57 million A round.
The company is working to understand how proteins move and how changes in their shape and structure can affect their function. Its goal is to create new drugs that can modify these changes to treat cancer.
Relay Chairman Alexis Borisy likens this idea to watching a movie: “To put it in the simplest terms, there is the classic phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ well, then a movie is worth thousands of pictures. So, you look at a still picture, you see a small set of information; but if you look at a movie of the same situation, you can understand so much more.”
By watching the movie, Relay is hoping to find ways to access targets that were previously undruggable. The company has four oncology programs, with the two most advanced vying to be first in the clinic. Relay plans to start clinical trials in 2019. In addition to pushing its pipeline forward, the series C capital will allow the company to further develop and scale its discovery platform.