NVIDIA and Leading Venture Capital Firms Invest in Vilya, a Biotech Spinout from Seattle’s Institute for Protein Design

Vilya CEO Cyrus Harmon (Vilya Photo)

Vilya, a biotech startup leveraging technology from Seattle-based Institute for Protein Design, has announced an expanded $71 million Series A investment round.

This 2-year-old company, with operations in Seattle and the Bay Area, employs advanced machine learning and AI techniques to develop macrocyclic drugs, a promising new class of medicines.

Vilya’s investors include biotech investor ARCH Venture Partners, NVIDIA’s venture capital arm NVentures, and other prominent firms such as Seattle-based Madrona and Silicon Valley’s Menlo Ventures.

“The current state of the art in discovering macrocycle drugs is slow and relies on legacy screening techniques with limited chemical diversity,” Madrona noted in a blog post on Thursday about their investment. “Vilya is upending the status quo by utilizing best-in-class protein engineering tools to intelligently design these complex yet powerful molecules.”

Vilya is among several spinouts from the Institute for Protein Design, which is led by protein design pioneer David Baker.

Earlier this year, the IPD published a study in Science on designing specialized peptides, streamlined ultra-small proteins that form the basis for Vilya’s work.

AI-powered protein design is being applied to create new therapeutics, vaccines, biosensors, materials, and more. The field is advancing rapidly, with IPD research driving many of these innovations.

Last year, Vilya hired biotech veteran Cyrus Harmon as its CEO. Harmon previously co-founded and led Olema Oncology.

“Our platform is built on groundbreaking research in advanced computational approaches and explores uncharted chemical space within cyclic peptides to design new molecular structures not found in nature,” the company states on its LinkedIn profile. “We aim to boldly leverage cutting-edge computing to revolutionize new medicine design and ultimately cure diseases.”

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