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Drug Discovery Firm Insitro Raises $400M in Series C Round

NEW YORK — Drug discovery and development firm Insitro said on Monday that it has raised $400 million in a Series C financing round.

The round was led by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and included existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Casdin Capital, and funds and accounts managed by T Rowe Price Associates and BlackRock. Also participating were Arch Venture Partners, Foresite Capital, GV, Third Rock Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, HOF Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, Temasek, and Softbank Investment Advisors.

Insitro said it will use the funding to expand its drug discovery and development platform, which incorporates machine learning-enabled statistical genetics on phenotyped human cohorts, predictive cell-based disease models, and machine learning-enabled drug design. The money will also be used to access new datasets and complementary technologies, as well as potentially in-license assets related to target and biomarker discovery.

"The Insitro team has developed a powerful approach to drug discovery based on the wholesale application of machine learning to every phase of the process: target identification, lead discovery, and the elaboration of highly evolved therapeutic candidates," Roger Perlmutter, Insitro independent board member and president of Merck Research Laboratories, said in a statement. "This Series C round provides Insitro with the wherewithal to pursue this vision across multiple therapeutic domains, both on an independent basis and with like-minded strategic partners."

San Francisco-based Insitro said that it expects the Series C round to close early next month. In conjunction with the round, Canada Pension Plan Investments' Paul McCracken will join the company's board.

Last October, Insitro formed a five-year collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb to discover and develop new treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. That same month, Insitro acquired Haystack Sciences, a developer of machine learning-based drug discovery technologies.