Virtual Drug Discovery — Nimbus

Editor’s Corner of Fierce BioTech IT .com 5/16/11

My visit to Nimbus, Bill Gates’ bet on virtual drug discovery

By Ryan McBride

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The nerve center of Nimbus Discovery, a largely virtual biotech start-up, resides in the offices of Atlas Venture in Cambridge, MA. Bruce Booth, an Atlas partner and chairman of the small company, recently to talked to me at the firm’s offices about how Nimbus is making use of computer-aided drug discovery software from Schrödinger to advance a pipeline of potential treatments for cancer, obesity other conditions.

Microsoft ($MSFT) chairman Bill Gates was announced as one of Nimbus’ seed investors in March, raising the profile of the young firm and shedding light on its unique relationship with Schrödinger, in which Gates invested last year through his Cascade Investment group. Nimbus hasn’t disclosed how much it has brought from Gates, Atlas and its other seed investors, yet more details could be in the offing; the company is planning a Series A round of funding in the near future.

Schrödinger, a global provider of chemistry simulation software for pharmaceutical companies, is a major shareholder in Nimbus. Ramy Farid, Schrödinger’s president, co-founded Nimbus with Atlas’ Booth in 2009 and sits on its board, the chairman says. The start-up has special access to Schrödinger’s software, support from the 21-year-old company’s computational chemistry experts and business expertise from Atlas.

While it’s too early to say with Nimbus’ drugs will succeed in clinical trials, the upstart has been able to show how the use of new software for understanding disease proteins and other tools have helped speed its drug discovery efforts, according to Booth. Read the full article >>