Bio Information Technologies (Bio IT), a computational drug discovery company based in Ramat Gan, Israel, recently raised $7.8 million in its first round of financing.
Investors included OrbiMed Advisors, Yozma, and Fred Frank, the vice chairman of Lehman Brothers.
Bio IT uses a computational approach to discover compounds targeting G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). The company has developed a set of de novo algorithms to predict the three-dimensional structure of members of the GPCR family, as well as proprietary technology for high-throughput computational screening and for designing virtual molecular libraries.
The company believes its technology, developed by Oren Becker and Sharon Shacham at Tel-Aviv University, offers the first fully integrated computational shortcut to GPCR drug lead discovery.
Bio IT plans to use the funding to advance its discovery operations, increase its staff, and establish a US office in Boston later this year. This capital will enable us to advance internal research programs as well as to give us the human resources to work with pharmaceutical and biotech companies on joint collaborations, said Bio IT CEO Haim Aviv in a statement.
So far, Bio IT has completed 30 models of GPCRs from a variety of subclasses and has begun screening efforts to find novel compounds against those receptors. Bio IT expects to use the financing to expand its number of models as well as develop research programs from in silico hits to wet drug discovery leads.