Pasadena Biotech Terray Raises $60 Million to Speed Up Drug Discovery

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Pasadena Biotech Terray Raises $60 Million to Speed Up Drug Discovery
After three years in stealth mode, a Pasadena biotech startup has emerged with $60 million and, it believes, a new way to create drugs.

Terray Therapeutics launched on Tuesday with $60 million in Series A funding led by Madrona Venture Group. A handful of other venture firms also participated in the round, including Pasadena-based Alexandria Venture Investments. Terray had previously raised an unannounced $20 million seed round led by Digitalis Ventures and Two Sigma Ventures—two firms that also invested in the Series A.

The company specializes in AI-enabled drug discovery—a massive emerging market not only for pharmaceutical giants like AstraZeneca, but also the likes of IBM and Google. The area is promising; AI can cut down the time it takes to create a drug, enabling more rapid innovation and potentially faster turnaround times to get therapeutics to the people who need them. As well as AstraZeneca, major pharma companies like Pfizer and Genentech have also partnered with smaller companies deploying AI-enabled techniques, with the aim of creating successful drugs that are less likely to fail in clinical trials.

Terray Therapeutics’ computational discovery platform analyzes chemical compounds, puts together different combinations, and assesses which compounds are promising for a specific drug candidate. Most importantly, the platform continually reassesses these compounds based on how well they perform.

“Even the most powerful artificial intelligence can’t get past insufficient or unclear data,” Terray CEO Jacob Berlin said in a statement. “Current chemical data lacks the scale and quality to enable AI-driven drug development. We’re building a future where the speed, precision and scale of our engine enable us to predictably create drugs that meet urgent patient needs.”

The biotech firm said the new funding will go toward advancing its preclinical pipeline and its partnerships.

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