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NVIDIA and leading VC firms back Vilya, a biotech startup from Seattle’s Institute for Protein Design



Vilya, a biotech startup founded based on technology developed at the Institute for Protein Design in Seattle, has recently announced an expanded $71 million Series A investment round. The company, established two years ago and with operations in Seattle and the Bay Area, focuses on using advanced machine learning and AI techniques to aid in developing macrocyclic drugs, a promising new type of medicine. Vilya has secured backing from prominent firms including ARCH Venture Partners, NVentures, Madrona, and Menlo Ventures.

According to a blog post from Madrona, the traditional methods of discovering macrocycle drugs are slow and limited in terms of chemical diversity. Vilya is aiming to revolutionize this process by utilizing state-of-the-art protein engineering tools to intelligently design these complex yet powerful molecules. Vilya is a spinout from the Institute for Protein Design, led by David Baker, a pioneer in protein design. A recent study published by the IPD in Science focused on designing specialized peptides, the foundation of Vilya’s work.

The use of AI-powered protein design not only holds promise for creating new therapeutics but also has implications for vaccines, biosensors, materials, and more. The rapidly evolving field of AI in protein design has seen significant advancements, many of which can be attributed to research conducted at the IPD. Last year, Cyrus Harmon, a seasoned biotech executive who previously co-founded and led Olema Oncology, was appointed as the CEO of Vilya. The company emphasizes its innovative platform built on groundbreaking research in advanced computational approaches to design new molecular structures not found in nature, aiming to leverage cutting-edge computing to revolutionize medicine development and cure diseases.

By harnessing cutting-edge technologies and combining them with breakthroughs in protein engineering, Vilya is paving the way for a new era in drug discovery and development. The company’s focus on utilizing AI and machine learning in the creation of macrocyclic drugs represents a significant step towards addressing the limitations of traditional screening techniques. With the support of key investors and a team of experienced professionals, Vilya is poised to make a lasting impact in the field of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

As Vilya continues to push the boundaries of protein design and drug development, it is positioning itself as a frontrunner in the race to leverage technology for the betterment of healthcare. The company’s emphasis on tapping into uncharted chemical space within cyclic peptides highlights its commitment to innovation and scientific advancement. With a strong foundation rooted in research from the Institute for Protein Design and the leadership of Cyrus Harmon, Vilya is well-positioned to drive significant change in how we approach and treat diseases, ultimately working towards the goal of curing various ailments through the development of novel medicines.

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