SHENZHEN, China, June 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, META Pharmaceuticals, China's first immunometabolism-based small-molecule drug discovery company, announced two consecutive Seed and Pre-A funding rounds totaling 15 million USD. Investors include Forcefield Ventures, XtalPi Inc., IMO Ventures, and Tiantu Capital. In combining cutting-edge discoveries in immunometabolism and artificial intelligence (AI), META Pharmaceuticals has built an AI-powered metabolic target discovery platform and aims to develop the next generation of safer and more effective autoimmune disease medicines based on new biological mechanisms.
The therapeutics market for autoimmune disease is the second-largest segment after cancer treatments, with an estimated 350-450 million patients worldwide. However, currently available medications are developed with biological mechanisms and drug targets with inherent drawbacks that lead to risks of severe side effects, low patient response rates, and many other problems.
Founded by a group of researchers in the emerging field of immunometabolism, META Pharmaceuticals is developing first-in-class drugs with a new mechanism that effectively regulates the immune system by modulating cell metabolism. This strategy that holds the promise of delivering treatment options with stronger potency and fewer side effects for a variety of chronic diseases. It has built a AI-enabled, multi-omics-based target discovery platform for metabolic pathways, dubbed META-Map, that can sift through thousands of metabolic proteases for specific therapeutic effects. The team has identified a series of new druggable targets with first-in-class potential and developed a pipeline with three first-in-class small molecule inhibitors, one of which is a candidate for a broad spectrum of autoimmune diseases and is expected to file for IND in both the US and China as early as 2024.
To accelerate drug discovery, META Pharmaceuticals as formed a close partnership with XtalPi, an AI drug discovery and development platform company. The two AI platforms can create a fast and reliable analytic and validation loop for new therapeutic targets and their mechanisms of action, thus accelerating the translation of new targets into patents and pipeline assets.
The new funding will help META accelerate its three candidates toward clinical trials and further expand its proprietary META-map platform to cover more disease areas as it continues to grow its pipeline. META Pharmaceuticals will also expand its team and establish its first biology laboratory in Shenzhen, China, to further strengthen the company's research capabilities in immunometabolism and drive target discovery.
Dr. Ke Xu, Co-founder & CEO of META Pharmaceuticals, said, "Thanks to the support of our investors and partners, we were able to reach significant R&D milestones and raise two rounds of financing in just six months. META Pharmaceuticals aspires to become a global leader in immunometabolic drug discovery and expedite the advent of next-generation autoimmune treatments that are safer and more effective for patients worldwide."
Dr. Shuhao Wen, Co-founder and Chairman of XtalPi said, "META's ability to discover highly promising autoimmune disease targets offers both exciting challenges and valuable insights for our AI drug discovery platform. We look forward to working closely with this team of brilliant scientists and helping them develop a fruitful pipeline of revolutionary immunometabolism-based drugs. "
"Since our seed round investment, Meta has made progress that defied our expectations," Said Thomas Yao, Partner of IMO Ventures. "Its innovative approach to immune-metabolism-based drug discovery may soon translate a whole new mechanism of action into first-in-class drugs that could transform the way autoimmune diseases are treated."
Guoxing Wei, Partner at Tiantu Capital who led the Pre-A round investment, said, "META Pharmaceuticals' approach of combining cutting-edge biological discoveries with AI technology has the potential to drive breakthroughs in immunometabolic drug R&D and fundamentally improve the quality of life for millions of patients. "
About Meta Pharmaceuticals
Meta Pharmaceuticals Inc. is an innovative drug discovery company focused on autoimmune diseases. The name META derives from the word metabolism and symbolizes the company's focus on the emerging cross-disciplinary field between metabolism and immunology to address the unmet needs of patients worldwide. Founded by a team of biomedical doctors from Weil Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, META Pharmaceuticals is incubated by Forcefield Ventures and XtalPi, a leading AI-powered drug R&D platform company. Based on cutting-edge biology theories, META Pharmaceuticals has identified a series of autoimmune disease targets that can safely and effectively regulate immune system functions by manipulating the vitality of cellular metabolism.
META Pharmaceuticals is partnering with XtalPi to develop these targets into first-in-class therapeutics. Through the fusion of fundamental science, AI, and fast experimental validation, this collaboration leverages AI + biomedical research to create a fast and reliable analytic and validation loop for new therapeutic targets and their mechanisms of action, accelerating target discovery and their translation into new therapeutics.
About XtalPi Technologies:
XtalPi Technologies is a quantum physics and AI-enabled drug discovery company dedicated to revolutionizing the drug discovery industry by improving the speed, scale, innovation, and success of drug discovery. As a US and China-based company serving the global market, XtalPi is committed to exploring optimal solutions to leverage cutting-edge R&D and computational resources to maximize the needs of our customers and collaborators.
XtalPi's intelligent drug discovery platform integrates cloud-based supercomputing digital R&D tools with advanced experimental capabilities to form an R&D system where high-accuracy predictions and targeted experiments corroborate and guide each other. As one of the world's pioneering AI drug discovery companies, XtalPi has established a set of R&D iterative processes that closely integrate quantum physics dry labs and advanced wet labs, challenging the efficiency bottleneck of traditional R&D and empowering new drug discovery to achieve breakthroughs in innovation speed and scale.
About IMO Ventures and Forcefield Ventures:
IMO Ventures is dedicated to early-stage investment in early-stage projects in emerging industries such as artificial intelligence, innovative consumer goods, healthcare, and financial technology, and to walking with the best entrepreneurs. IMO Ventures has invested in China, the U.S., Southeast Asia, Latin America, Africa, etc. The IMO Ventures team has entrepreneurial experience, understands the sweet and sour of entrepreneurship, and believes that science and technology will change the world. IMO currently has three USD funds and one RMB fund, and manages several SPV funds. We have made early investments in dozens of disruptive and innovative startups in their respective tracks, including Guazi Used Car, XtalPi Technologies, Deepview Technology, Paytm, Conflux, Lime, etc.
Forcefield Ventures is the sub-fund under IMO ventures specializing in early-stage investment and incubation in the biomedical sector.
About Tiantu Capital:
Founded in 2002, Tiantu Capital is an active investment management company headquartered in Shenzhen, China. With over 8 billion Yuan in assets under management, our firm's business focuses on providing capital to leading companies in consumer products and healthcare industry in China. The expertise of our firm's investment team and Advisory Boards are unparalleled in breadth and depth. Tiantu has helped to accelerate growth and development for numerous startup companies in China, including Ciming Healthcare Center, Xbiome Co, Signet Therapeutics, Phoenix Healthcare Group.
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Source: Meta Pharmaceuticals Inc.