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Xaira, an AI Drug Discovery Startup, Launches with $1B Investment, Ready to Develop Drugs

BusinessXaira, an AI Drug Discovery Startup, Launches with $1B Investment, Ready to Develop Drugs

In a bold move backed by substantial investment, Xaira Therapeutics, an AI-driven drug discovery startup, emerged from stealth mode with a $1 billion funding round led by ARCH Venture Partners and Foresite Labs. The company, incubated by ARCH Venture Partners and Foresite Capital, boasts a formidable list of investors including F-Prime, NEA, Sequoia Capital, Lux Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, and SV Angel.

Led by CEO Marc Tessier-Lavigne, former Stanford president and chief scientific officer at Genentech, Xaira is poised to leverage recent breakthroughs in generative AI to develop groundbreaking drugs previously deemed impossible. Tessier-Lavigne emphasized the transformative potential of AI technology in drug discovery, highlighting the pivotal role played by foundational models developed at the University of Washington’s Institute of Protein Design, led by Xaira co-founder David Baker.

Unlike data-rich technology sectors, biotech faces challenges in generating the datasets necessary to drive AI model development. However, investors remain bullish on Xaira’s potential to revolutionize drug design despite acknowledging that the field is still in its early stages.

While Xaira refrained from providing a timeline for its first drug trials, investors emphasized their readiness to commit to the long-term vision. ARCH Venture Partners managing director Bob Nelsen underscored the significant capital required to operate as a leading AI-driven drug discovery company.

Despite past controversies surrounding Tessier-Lavigne’s tenure at Stanford, investors express confidence in his leadership and scientific acumen. Nelsen and others reaffirmed their trust in Tessier-Lavigne’s integrity and vision, citing Stanford’s exoneration of any wrongdoing or scientific misconduct.

Xaira’s ambitious goal is to establish itself as a frontrunner in AI drug discovery, leveraging cutting-edge technology and scientific expertise to address critical healthcare challenges.

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