AI-focused therapeutics company raises $76M

BlackThorn Therapeutics, a clinical-stage neurobehaviorial health company, has raised $76 million in a Series B funding round, the company announced June 13.  The company brings next generation AI technologies to advance targeted therapeutics.

New investors Polaris Partners, Premier Partners, Scripps Research and Vertex Ventures, as well as existing investors Alexandria Venture Investments, Altitude Life Science Ventures, ARCH Venture Partners, Biomatics Capital, GV, Johnson & Johnson Innnovation-JJDC, and Mercury Fund, all contributed to the funding round.

The company, based in San Francisco, has built the largest library of deeply phenotyped clinical neurobiological data and a cloud-based platform, PathFinder, through AI and machine learning, according to a press release. PathFinder can enable the collection, integration and analysis of multimodal data quickly and at great scale. The services help inform drug discovery and development.

“Making personalized medicine for mental health a reality requires the ability to gather, integrate and analyze a wide variety of data at scale,” Paul Berns, executive chair of BlackThorn and a Venture Partner at ARCH Venture Partners, said in a statement.

The funds will be used to advance the clinical-stage programs at the company, including for receptor antagonists in studies of mood disorders and a potential treatment of autism spectrum disorder.

The company aims to bring new therapies to patients through advances in computational sciences in order to address patient heterogeneity. The diversity of patients can make it difficult to predict outcomes in clinical trials, but data-driven approaches could increase the probability of clinical trial success, benefiting patient outcomes, according to Bill Martin, PhD, BlackThorn’s president and chief operating officer.

Under terms of the funding round, three new members will join BlackThorn’s board of directors: Brian Chee, managing partner at Polaris Partners; Lori Hu, managing director at Vertex Ventures; and Julie Sunderland, managing director at Biomatics Capital.

BlackThorn also announced Jane Till, MBChB, FRCPsych, will come on board as chief medical officer. Laura Hansen, PhD, has been named vice president of corporate affairs.