Current Edition

Turbine boosts AI platform to deliver cancer treatments

€20m financing will focus on treatment pathways, new partnerships, and team expansion.

Turbine, a company that has developed a cell simulation platform, has completed a €20m financing round.

Mercia and MSD – also known as Merck & Co in the US and Canada – Global Health Innovation (GHI) Fund co-led the financing, joined by Day One Capital and existing investors Accel, Delin Ventures, and XTX Ventures.

Its platform –- The Simulated Cell – is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and can predict the effectiveness of cancer treatments, will now expand its team and develop new partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies.

The Simulated Cell offers a computer model of the inner signaling network of cancer cells to provide a more comprehensive understanding of their biology and the potential of treatments. The platform can be used to establish novel cancer therapies, improve the success of clinical trials, predict the efficacy of cancer drug combinations and allow existing drugs to be directed toward the patients most likely to benefit.

Currently, Turbine works with pharma companies seeking to understand and overcome causes of resistance to therapy and develop new drug treatments. Its technology has directed the treatment development pipelines of Bayer and two other top 20 global pharma companies, while successfully identifying clinically validated drug targets. Among these are cancer cell proteins that drugs could target – those that may not be spotted using other types of computational approaches.

“MSD GHI looks forward to enabling acceleration of Turbine’s growth and expansion,” said David Rubin, managing director, of MSD GHI Fund. “We believe Turbine’s Simulated Cell has the potential to transform key aspects of the oncology drug discovery and development process, providing insight at a scale that will shed light on even the most challenging biological mechanisms.”

“The idea sprung from our frustration that experiments frequently lead to expensive and time-consuming drug development failures,” commented Szabolcs Nagy, chief executive officer at Turbine. “We’ve come a long way since 2016 when a handful of biologists and data scientists bootstrapped a technology to predict experiments better reflecting patients and more likely to translate in the clinic.”

Daniela Tsoneva of Mercia, explained: “Turbine technology addresses historic challenges to drug development and is already validated by early work with large pharma partners. We are excited to support the company as it advances its platform, deepens our collective understanding of cancer biology, and makes drug development more efficient and more successful across the biopharma industry.”

Turbine was founded in 2016 by Kristof Szalay, Daniel Veres, and Szabolcs Nagy to overcome the limitations of existing methods in identifying targeted treatments.