Hexagon Bio Raises $77.3 Million Series B Financing and Strengthens Leadership to Expand Novel Computational Discovery Platform and Advance Microbial Genome-Derived Small Molecules
- Hexagon’s interdisciplinary platform enables broad opportunities across multiple therapeutic areas; company initially focused on oncology and infectious diseases
- Tara Arvedson, Ph.D., former Executive Director of Oncology Research at Amgen, who joined Hexagon last year as SVP, Research, has been promoted to Chief Scientific Officer
- Victor Cee, Ph.D., former research project team leader for LUMAKRAS® (sotorasib) at Amgen, joins Hexagon as SVP, Drug Discovery
MENLO PARK, CA, February 13, 2023 – Hexagon Bio, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery of medicines encoded in the global metagenome, today announced that it has raised a $77.3 million Series B financing and made key appointments to its leadership team. Existing investors, including The Column Group, Two Sigma Ventures, 8VC, and Nextech, participated in the Series B round, joined by additional new investors, including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments).
“We are thrilled to have the continued support and confidence of our top-tier investor syndicate as we advance our novel platform for targeted small molecule drug discovery,” said Maureen Hillenmeyer, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Hexagon. “Metabolites from microbes such as fungi and bacteria have evolved over millions of years to potently inhibit certain proteins, many of which are implicated in human diseases. We can learn from nature how to fight disease. Multiple breakthroughs, from penicillin to statins to various oncology drugs, have resulted from microbial natural product drug discovery. However, the traditional ‘brute force’ drug discovery process has limited the true potential of this space. We believe that genomics holds the key to treating many human diseases, and we are poised to use this knowledge to develop novel therapeutics. We bring together computation, biology, and chemistry in this space at a scale previously unexplored.”
Hexagon’s state-of-the-art, interdisciplinary platform combines technological advances and proprietary insights across machine learning, genomics, chemistry, and synthetic biology to systematically discover new chemical compounds linked to protein targets. Current public databases contain sequenced information for only 1% of the world’s fungal genomes. Through its computational and robotic capabilities, Hexagon has built a proprietary database of microbial genomes that is 10x the size of all public databases, and is adding thousands of additional genomes per month. Simultaneously, Hexagon is leveraging its database to discover and optimize structurally diverse small molecule therapeutics.
Hexagon plans to use proceeds from the Series B round to continue to grow its team across multiple disciplines as it expands the reach and capabilities of its platform, and advances its initial programs focused on oncology and infectious disease toward development candidate nomination.
“We seek investments in biotech platforms that have the potential for an outsized impact on human health through their integration of synthetic biology, computation and AI. Companies like Hexagon Bio that fully employ the latest technology advancements and innovate further will undoubtedly lead the next generation of drug discovery and therapeutic breakthroughs,” said Dusan Perovic, Partner at Two Sigma Ventures. “We look forward to continuing our support of Hexagon Bio as it works to turn the boundless opportunities encoded in nature’s DNA into new medicines.”
“We invest in companies that drive innovation and have a high potential for growth. Hexagon Bio’s new approach to small molecule drug discovery, which squarely sits at the intersection of technology and biology, is a good fit for our Innovations in Health Care strategy. We’re pleased to invest in Hexagon and look forward to the continued growth of the company’s platform and its drug pipeline,” said Leon Pedersen, Managing Director and Head of Growth Equity at CPP Investments.
About Drs. Arvedson and Cee
Dr. Arvedson served as Hexagon’s SVP, Research, before her promotion to Chief Scientific Officer. Prior to joining Hexagon in January 2022, Dr. Arvedson served as an Executive Director of Oncology Research at Amgen, where she led small molecule and large molecule programs in oncology, immuno-oncology, inflammation, and hematology. Her notable accomplishments at Amgen include initiating its KRAS G12C-targeting effort, which resulted in the first approved KRAS-targeting molecule, LUMAKRAS® (sotorasib), and leadership of the company’s bispecific T cell engager platform, which resulted in several current clinical candidates.
Dr. Cee joins Hexagon as SVP, Drug Discovery from Oncovalent Therapeutics, where he served as VP of Chemistry. Prior to Oncovalent, Dr. Cee served in roles of increasing responsibility at Amgen, Inc., contributing to and leading a wide range of projects across target class, disease area, and modality space. His most impactful work while at Amgen was leadership of the research project team that delivered LUMAKRAS.
“We are excited to now have Tara fully at the helm of our scientific organization as we continue to expand our platform’s capabilities and advance toward development candidate nomination. Since joining Hexagon early last year, she has had a tremendous impact on our progress and growth,” said Dr. Hillenmeyer. “Tara and Vic, who will now lead our drug discovery efforts, worked closely together at Amgen to advance sotorasib, a critical breakthrough for cancer. We look forward to their fruitful scientific collaboration continuing at Hexagon as we work to deliver breakthroughs for patients.”
About Hexagon Bio
Hexagon Bio is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery of medicines encoded in the global metagenome. The company’s highly interdisciplinary platform uses data science, genomics and synthetic biology to mine evolutionarily refined small molecules and their protein targets directly from microbial genomes and turn these molecules into therapeutics to combat human diseases that have evaded traditional approaches. Learn more at www.hexagonbio.com.