SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–VILYA, Inc. (Vilya), a biotechnology company creating a new class of medicines that precisely target disease biology, announced its launch today. Vilya is co-founded by world-class scientists from the Institute of Protein Design (IPD) led by David Baker, Ph.D., and ARCH Venture Partners.
The Company’s proprietary platform, powered by advanced machine learning, taps into uncharted chemical space to design de novo molecular structures that range in size between small molecules and antibodies, with critical drug-like properties, including the ability to move through biological membranes and to disrupt protein-protein interactions while being highly selective for their protein target. These novel artificial molecules with customized biologic-like properties can be leveraged for previously difficult-to-drug therapeutic targets in a broad set of indications.
Pushing Beyond Nature Through Rational Design
Traditional discovery methods have long relied on random screening and serendipity to identify drug candidates. These approaches have only explored a small fraction of the vast chemical space and often yield drugs with poor pharmacokinetic properties. Vilya’s computational design platform leverages advanced machine learning and other computational approaches to explore an exponentially larger chemical space and design desired drug properties. These capabilities position the Company to precisely target disease biology.
“Over the last few decades, drug developers have struggled to find natural molecules for most drug targets. Vilya’s ability to precisely design membrane permeable molecules with high structural accuracy opens the door to a new class of medicines that combine the advantages of traditional small molecule drugs and larger protein-based therapeutics,” said Dr. Baker.
In a paper published today in Cell titled “Accurate de novo design of membrane-traversing macrocycles” scientists at IPD describe one element of the groundbreaking research behind Vilya’s foundational technology, which uses computational methods to robustly design membrane-permeable and orally bioavailable peptides with high structural accuracy.
“The Institute of Protein Design is at the frontier of synthetic protein science, pushing the boundaries of computing and biology,” said Robert Nelsen, Vilya Co-founder and Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners. “ARCH is thrilled to join forces with David to create a completely new class of medicines, one never before found in nature. It’s incredibly exciting to see real potential for this platform.”
Vilya launched with $50 million in committed Series A financing led by ARCH Venture Partners and an accomplished team of scientific team members and advisors that span data science, synthetic chemistry, drug development and company building. Vilya’s co-founding team includes David Baker, Gaurav Bhardwaj, Lance Stewart, Patrick Salveson, Adam Moyer, and Naozumi Hiranuma, from the UW Medicine Institute for Protein Design and Robert Nelsen, Steven Gillis, Olivia Zetter, Inca Dieterich and Sabah Oney, from ARCH Venture Partners.
“Vilya’s approach is driven by breakthrough advances in multidisciplinary science,” said Steven Gillis, Vilya Executive Chair, Co-founder and Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners. “Our ability to create and screen a new class of target-directed, structured molecules in silico, could transform drug discovery and development, potentially rendering high throughput screening obsolete.”
Vilya is a computational biotechnology company creating a novel class of medicines to precisely target disease biology. The Company’s proprietary platform, powered by advanced machine learning, taps into uncharted chemical space to design de novo molecular structures with enhanced drug-like properties that range in size between small molecules and antibodies. Vilya is leveraging its platform to focus on previously difficult-to-drug therapeutic targets. Vilya was co-founded by a team of scientists from the Institute of Protein Design (IPD) led by David Baker, Ph.D., and ARCH Venture Partners. To learn more, visit https://www.vilyatx.com.