Pharma startup EQRx launches with a $200 million Series A to make patent-protected drugs with lower prices
Happy weekend, folks. It’s been really cold here with freezing rain. Anyway, it’s not clear why we missed the story of EQRx, a biotech startup that launched this week with $200 million in series A funding to develop patent-protected drugs that will cost less than similar high-end medicines on the market. The round is led by an impressive list of backers including, GV, ARCH Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, and Casdin Capital, Section 32, Nextech and Arboretum Ventures, among others.
“We want to get great new medicines to people and society in a sustainable method,” says Borisy, CEO at EQRx and a former partner at biotech investor Third Rock Ventures, says. “In a lot of ways, this is a very simple but perhaps very provocative idea.” Melanie Nallicheri, EQRx’s president, believes the firm can cut failure rates from 90% to 40%. To do this, EQRx will use “precision medicine” in drugmaking.
Headed by Alexis Borisy, a leading biotechnology entrepreneur and investor with more than 25 years of experience, the Cambridge, MA-based EQRx is a new biotech startup focused on re-engineering the process from drug discovery to patient delivery with the goal of offering a market-based solution for the rising cost of medicines. Leveraging advances in science and technology to bring treatments for life threatening and chronic diseases to people more efficiently and cost-effectively, EQRx intends to offer its therapies at dramatically lower prices compared to today’s innovative medicines.
Before founding EQRx, Borisy founded CombinatoRx in 1999 and is the co-founder of Foundation Medicine, Blueprint Medicines, Celsius Therapeutics and Relay Therapeutics. He’s also a founding investor for Editas Medicine, Magenta Therapeutics, Revolution Medicines and Thrive Earlier Detection. Alexis is the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Museum of Science. He holds a master’s degree in chemistry and chemical biology from Harvard University and a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Chicago.
“Over the last several decades, society has benefited from unprecedented technological advances and a deeper understanding of disease biology, revolutionizing the way many diseases are treated today. That said, the pricing of new therapeutic approaches is pushing beyond the limits of common sense, preventing people and society from equally benefiting from innovation,” said Alexis Borisy, chairman and chief executive officer of EQRx. “The time is now for a market-based solution to rising drug costs. Our blue-chip team of founders and leaders is proud to launch EQRx and to lead the way in redefining what it means to innovate and deliver high-quality medicines that are within reach of people through more equitable prices.”
“The process of developing and bringing new drugs to market should and can be organized towards the goal of their being affordable both for patients and society,” said Peter Bach, MD, co-founder of EQRx and director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “Today even people with insurance are delaying filling prescriptions or going without due to the high cost sharing that is ‘part and parcel’ of high drug prices. New approaches are needed. EQRx aims to create affordable new medicines that are priced for access, and accessibility is the critical attribute for every medicine if it is going to improve people’s health.”