Bio IT, a computational drug discovery company, raises US $7.8 million
Sunday, September 2, 2001
Ramat Gan, Israel, September 2001-- Bio Information Technologies Ltd (“Bio IT”), a computational drug discovery company focused on membrane embedded proteins, has successfully completed its first round of financing, totaling US $7.8 million from OrbiMed Advisors LLC, Yozma, and the Vice Chairman of Lehman Brothers Fred Frank.

Bio IT is focused on the discovery of novel compounds targeting G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) through a unique computational structure based approach. The GPCR family is believed to be the most important class of receptors in drug discovery. Bio IT’s technology is based on three proprietary elements: Algorithms for the prediction of the 3-dimensional structure of any member of the GPCR family, proprietary technology for high throughput computational screening, and proprietary technology for designing virtual molecular libraries. Using these technologies, Bio IT is developing the first fully integrated computational shortcut to GPCR drug lead discovery.

Bio-IT was established on November 2000 by Dr. Silvia Noiman, Prof. Haim Aviv, Dr. Oren M. Becker and Tel-Aviv University. The core technology was developed by Dr. Oren Becker and Dr. Sharon Shacham at Tel-Aviv University. “ I believe that this novel computational approach of Bio IT has the potential of significantly changing the way drug discovery will be practiced in the future” commented Prof. Haim Aviv, Chairman of Bio IT, “I am very pleased that OrbiMed and Yozma became significant investors in this company”. “This fund-raising will enable us to advance our discovery operations, increase our staff and establish a US office in Boston later this year. This capital will enable us to advance internal research programs as well as to give us the human resources to work with pharmaceutical and biotech companies on joint collaborations. We believe that the integration of computation with biology and chemistry will save time and money, but also increase success rates in drug discovery. This capital will help us prove out our hypothesis.”

Chen Schor, a principal at Yozma added: ”There are no Pharmaceutical or Biotech companies that solved the structures of GPCRs and can use a structure-based drug design approach to develop drugs for this important family of drug targets. Bio-I.T’s technology platform is creating a paradigm shift in drug discovery for membrane embedded proteins, allowing structure-based drug design for these targets. We believe this breakthrough will lead to an accelerated development of drugs that are more specific and potent”.

Bio IT utilizes a set of de novo computational algorithms to predict the 3-dimensional structures of GPCRs. The company has successfully completed 30 models of GPCRs to date from a wide variety of sub classes. The company has begun screening efforts to find novel compounds against those receptors. The company will utilize the capital to expand its number of models as well as develop research programs from in silico hits to “wet” drug discovery leads.

Yozma is the founding group of the Israeli venture capital industry and specializes in identifying early stage investment opportunities. Some of Yozma’s success stories include companies such as: Biosense, Telegate, Commtouch and E-sim. In the field of life science, Yozma targets companies engaged in the fields of: medical devices, Bio-Informatics and Biotech/pharmaceutical.


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