System1 Biosciences, Inc., a San Francisco, CA-based neurotherapeutics company that employs phenotypic screening to discover novel drugs for neurological and psychiatric disorders, completed a $25m Series A financing.
The round was co-led by CRV and Pfizer Ventures with participation from Alexandria Venture Investments, Dolby Family Ventures, Longevity Fund, Riot Ventures, Kinled Holding, Wilmot Ventures, Webb Investment Network, Liquid 2 Ventures, and Boom Capital.
The company will use the new capital to drive its drug discovery programs for epilepsy, autism, and schizophrenia.
Co-founded by assistant professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Sean Escola, M.D., Ph.D., CEO, and Saul Kato, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, System1 uses stem cell lines derived from patients with brain disease, to produce cerebral organoids, which are three-dimensional in vitro systems that allow researchers to identify potential drug compounds that are more likely to be clinically efficacious compared to those found using standard methods.
The company uses robotic automation to develop its organoids, permitting the collection of a massively scaled, high-content dataset across multiple modes of biological measurement over many months and under many conditions. Advanced data analysis applied to the resulting data streams yield systems-level characterizations of disease never before achievable. These characterizations, or “deep phenotypes,” are exploited to identify novel therapeutic targets and drug treatments for complex neurological and psychiatric diseases.
In addition to existing directors Dr. Escola, Dr. Kato and Frederic Kerrest, COO and co-founder of the enterprise identity software company Okta, System1 added George Zachary, of CRV, and Margi McLoughlin, Ph.D., of Pfizer, as new members of its board of directors, and Dylan Morris, of CRV, and Laszlo Kiss, Ph.D., of Pfizer, as new board observers.