Madison-based Nimble Therapeutics Inc. has raised a $10 million Series A round from three investors, led by San Francisco-based Telegraph Hill Partners.
According to an SEC filing, the proceeds will be used for working capital and other general corporate purposes.
Nimble spun off from Swiss health care company F. Hoffmann La Roche earlier this month to commercialize a “proprietary chemical synthesis technology for drug discovery and development” that was developed by a team led by Jigar Patel at Roche.
Nimble’s technology aims to identify new drugs using a platform that allows the simultaneous synthesis of millions of peptide-based molecules to speed discovery. Patel hired on 12 other colleagues from Roche to staff the new company, which is co-located at Roche's Madison office, 500 S. Rosa Road. They have been incrementally improving the platform for about five years, he said.
Peptide-based drugs are an emerging field in pharmaceuticals, which can be used for a variety of therapies, Patel said.
"There’s an opportunity to really figure out how to make more of these kinds of molecules faster in the field,” he said.
By spinning off into a separate company, as the name implies, Nimble can move more quickly and open its technology up to not just Roche, but other pharmaceutical companies.
"We want to initially establish some partnerships with pharmaceutical companies, providing them access to the technology for their programs,” Patel said. "Roche realized the technology has a lot of value within the therapeutic field and they feel the best opportunity to really realize the technology is to work with other pharmaceutical companies independently to drive the field forward.”
Patel has worked at Roche for 12 years, as a senior scientist and then director. He was previously an associate scientist at the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a doctorate in quantitative genetics, and before that ran malaria vaccine clinical trials at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Kenya. Now, he has chosen to become an entrepreneur.
"It’s always been of interest to me to figure out how to create technologies and enable technologies to drive therapies forward,” he said. "The opportunity came by where we really had to figure out how to commercialize a very cutting-edge technology.”
"The Roche team saw the value in separating the business to enable it to expand its platform and work on a variety of therapeutic areas with strategic partners," said Deval Lashkari, senior partner at Telegraph Hill Partners and board director at Nimble Therapeutics, in a release. "Nimble's capabilities are truly revolutionary and we are excited to work with the company in a shared vision to grow the business into a leading drug discovery partner for the pharmaceutical industry."