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London Tech Week

Budapest University spinout Turbine AI raises €25.5M for merging biology and AI for cancer treatments

Turbine team photo
Picture credits: Turbine

An AI healthcare University spin out from Budapest,  Turbine AI, which uses cell simulations to guide biopharma R&D and bring the right drug to every patient in need, has secured €5.5 million in Series A funding. This investment brings the company’s oversubscribed Series A round to €25.5 million. The latest round was led by MassMutual Ventures (that recently also backed Zluri and Griffin). The London-based company’s $20m round in 2022 was also backed by Accel, Mercia, MSD Global Health Innovation (GHI) Fund. And they also partnered with Merck and Bayer.

Scale up of its biology simulation platform 

This funding milestone adds to Turbine’s recent momentum, which has included building cutting-edge lab facilities in Budapest and entering a significant collaboration with Cancer Research Horizons. The latest funding will be used to advance its internal pipeline of simulation-guided programs while scaling its biology simulation platform to support additional partnerships.

“Turbine’s platform overcomes the limitations of traditional drug discovery approaches by combining cell simulation and machine learning to uncover novel cancer therapies and the patients most likely to benefit from them,” said Anvesh Ramineni, Managing Partner at MMV. “We believe Turbine’s unique approach has tremendous potential to guide biopharma R&D in a new direction using actionable insights gathered from deep expertise in the simulation of biological mechanisms – we look forward to working with Turbine to help unlock its full potential.”

New appointments to its board! 

Alongside the funding, Turbine announced the appointments of four independent directors to its board. The four newly appointed independent directors are:

  • Milind Kamkolkar, COO of Paradigm, a healthcare technology company focused on improving access to clinical research for patients. 
  • Jane Rhodes, Ph.D., M.B.A., Chief Business Officer at Verge Genomics, a clinical-stage AI-enabled drug discovery and development company.
  • Dr. Bernd Seizinger, M.D., Ph.D., has held a number of senior executive and board positions in multiple public and private biotech companies across the US and Europe, including President & CEO of GPC Biotech.
  • Lars Staal Wegner, M.D., Partner at Bristlecone Pacific, a venture capital firm that invests in evidence-based solutions to extend a healthy human lifespan.

“The support of MassMutual Ventures, a leading global investor with close ties to the U.S. market, and the enthusiasm of the experts who have joined our board validate Turbine’s potential,” said Szabolcs Nagy, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Turbine. “With the additional funding and board appointments, we are set to accelerate the validation of our approach by advancing multiple programs and partnerships toward the ultimate test of any biopharma technology platform – human clinical trials.”

Cancer treatment via cell simulation platform

Turbine AI was founded in 2015 by Kristof Szalay, Daniel Veres, Szabolcs Nagy, and Ivan Fekete. The company also has offices in Budapest, Hungary, and Cambridge. The team’s vision is to overcome the current limitations in identifying oncology treatments with true patient benefits by combining molecular biology and interpretable machine learning. 

A spin out from the Technical University of Budapest, Turbine leverages molecular biology and AI to deliver more targeted, effective cancer treatment via its industry-leading cell simulation platform. It is an exciting development in how we can use combine biology and (non-generative) AI to discover potentially ground-breaking cancer therapies, as well as identifying the patients most likely to benefit from them.

Turbine’s simulations can represent patient populations that existing biological models cannot. They also have the capacity to perform assays that would be impractical to conduct at scale and with high throughput. A proprietary closed-loop learning process validates promising hypotheses in Turbine’s in vitro and in vivo assays, leading to a constantly evolving model of cancer biology.

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