Eikon Therapeutics Closes $ 148 Million Series A Funding to Develop High-Resolution, High-Throughput Microscopy for Drug Discovery
HAYWARD, Calif .– (BUSINESS WIRE) – Eikon Therapeutics, Inc., a pioneer in living cell super-resolution microscopy and engineering for drug discovery, today announced the closing of a $ 148 million Series A funding directed by The Column Group with the participation of Foresite Capital, Innovation Endeavors and Lux Capital. The company also announced the appointment of Roger M. Perlmutter, MD, PhD, as the new CEO.
Eikon’s drug discovery platform evolved from super-resolution microscopy, a revolutionary approach to elucidate the behavior of proteins in living cells. Super-resolution microscopy was first developed by Eric Betzig, PhD, and his collaborators, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2014 for this work. Dr Betzig, Xavier Darzacq, PhD, Luke Lavis, PhD, and Robert Tjian, PhD, founded Eikon to industrialize this new technology and apply protein dynamics monitoring to key applications throughout the drug discovery process. .
Dr Darzacq, who in addition to being a co-founder of Eikon, is professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of California at Berkeley, said: “Eikon was founded on the vision that the observation of the Movement of proteins in living cells provide important biological information allowing the discovery of therapies that could not be identified by other means. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines engineering and science, we have created an exciting new window into cell biology and pharmacology. With the addition of Roger’s in-depth drug development experience, the Eikon team is poised to use this unique platform to its best advantage in developing therapies with potentially significant benefits for patients.
Prior to joining Eikon, Dr Perlmutter was Executive Vice President at Merck and President of Merck Research Laboratories. Under his R&D leadership, Merck has received more than 100 regulatory approvals for its drugs and vaccines worldwide, including those for multiple cancers, diabetes and infectious diseases. Notably, Dr. Perlmutter helped Merck establish KEYTRUDA as a fundamental immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. Prior to joining Merck, he was Executive Vice President and Head of R&D at Amgen for over a decade. Earlier in his career, Dr Perlmutter was a professor in the departments of immunology, biochemistry, and medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle, and was chairman of its department of immunology, where he was a research fellow at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Perlmutter received his MD and PhD from Washington University in St. Louis and his BA from Reed College. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
“The pharmaceutical industry has long been limited in the tools available to study dynamic regulatory mechanisms in living cells,” said Dr. Perlmutter. “In this context, it is inspiring to see what Eikon has already accomplished by integrating physics and engineering with machine learning to complement traditional approaches to drug discovery. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with Drs. Betzig and Tjian, whom I have known for many years, and with Eikon engineers, computer scientists, chemists and biologists, with whom I have interacted over the past year, to identify and develop important new therapies.
Dr Perlmutter and the Eikon team will benefit from the expertise and knowledge of a distinguished interdisciplinary Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), comprising:
- Eric Betzig, PhD, Nobel Prize-winning physicist and co-founder of Eikon Therapeutics
- Tom cech, PhD, Nobel Laureate Chemist and Former President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
- Juan Jaen, PhD, President and co-founder of Arcus Biosciences
- Larry lasky, PhD, Partner at The Column Group
- Fei-Fei Li, PhD, Senior Sequoia Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University and Co-Director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence
- Eric schmidt, PhD, Former CEO and Executive Chairman of Google and Founding Partner of Innovation Endeavors
- Robert tjian, PhD, Former President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Co-Founder of Eikon Therapeutics
“Quantifying real-time protein dynamics in cells and translating this information into drug discovery requires a unique collaboration of world-class chemists, physicists, biologists and engineers working together. Edited by Eikon CSO Dan Anderson; Senior Vice President of Engineering Russ Berman; and Xavier Darzacq, who served as interim technical director in the company’s first year, we have built a talented team that is successfully realizing this vision by combining robotics and automation with drug discovery. and high performance computing, ”said Leon Chen, PhD, Partner The Column Group and Interim President at Eikon. “Roger shares this passion for integrative science and building high performing R&D organizations where diverse skills are honored and encouraged. On behalf of the entire team, we look forward to working with him to continue building an organization of interdisciplinary experts who share our commitment to develop new therapies for serious unmet health needs.
About Eikon Therapeutics
Eikon Therapeutics is a drug discovery and development company. Our proprietary platform harnesses super-resolution microscopy, a Nobel Prize-winning technology, along with the latest advancements in biology, chemistry, engineering and automation to develop and bring new therapies to market. Eikon tracks and measures the real-time movement of individual proteins in living cells to improve our understanding of the biology of disease and to discover differentiated therapies. Our multidisciplinary team aims to discover and introduce new treatments for people with unmet health needs. Eikon is based in Hayward, California. Eikon can be found online through our website Or on Twitter or LinkedIn.