Emerald Therapeutics closes latest funding round

Menlo Park, California-based biotechnology company Emerald Therapeutics has closed its latest round of funding, raising the company’s total financing to $13.5 million. Founders Fund and Max Levchin, a PayPal co-founder, led the round along with investment from Schooner Capital.

PRESS RELEASE

Emerald Therapeutics, a scientist-led company re-imagining the way laboratory research is conducted, today announced that it has concluded its latest round of funding, raising the company’s total financing to $13.5 million. Founders Fund and Max Levchin, a PayPal co-founder, led this latest financing along with investment from Schooner Capital.

“For us, this means focusing our efforts on the process of conducting research as much as on the product we’re researching. Doing so leaves an enduring path for repeatable, modular lab work upon which research can compound”
The company also announced the release of its first product: the Emerald Cloud Laboratory (ECL). The ECL is a state-of-the-art life sciences laboratory that scientists can remotely access via the Internet where automated robotics conduct experiments exactly as specified by the user (more information can be found at www.emeraldcloudlab.com).

Scientists using the ECL log onto a website and specify all of the parameters for a given experiment as if they were standing in front of the instrument. The experiment is then executed using Emerald’s robotically automated systems, and all of the data generated is automatically cataloged and placed into a database where it is accessible to the user. The system also provides powerful tools to plot, analyze, and share data with other scientists.

This platform is meant to expand the scope of experiments that scientists currently run in their own labs by providing instant access via the Internet to a comprehensive set of validated experimental protocols and instrumentation without the high upfront costs of both time and money.

The ECL also provides more robust and reproducible data: because all experimental and environmental variables are captured by the system, it is possible to robotically replicate experiments with the push of a button. Finally, the ECL offers a persistent database accessible over the Internet where investigators can instantaneously browse or query past experiments and data with extreme precision. Emerald hopes that the ECL will provide scientists will a larger experimental toolbox, allow for more reproducible results and shared knowledge between scientists and labs, and dramatically reduce the overhead required to begin new research programs and biotechnology companies.

“We believe there is a role for what we call ‘Lean Biotech,’” said Dr. Brian Frezza, co-founder and co-CEO of Emerald Therapeutics. “Biotech is not lean, in fact it’s going in the opposite direction, so we think in order to improve healthcare, treat diseases, or positively affect every-day life in myriad ways, we have to re-imagine biotech as an industry.

“For us, this means focusing our efforts on the process of conducting research as much as on the product we’re researching. Doing so leaves an enduring path for repeatable, modular lab work upon which research can compound,” he continued.

Emerald is accepting applications for users to join its outward-facing beta trial. The ECL currently supports over 40 standard types of life science experiments, from Western Blots to MALDI Mass Spectrometry, with the intention of supporting over 100 standard experiment types within 18 months. Details on the capabilities provided can be found at http://emeraldcloudlab.com/lab-experiments.

The hardware and software behind the ECL has been in development at Emerald for over four years, and the company is now taking steps to open the system to the outside world.

“We want to be clear that this is not Silicon Valley telling the scientific community how to do their job,” said Dr. D.J. Kleinbaum, the company’s other co-founder and co-CEO. “The ECL began as an internal product, built by our own team of scientists and engineers to streamline our therapeutic research efforts and provide us with greater leverage in the lab. We consider ourselves proud members of a larger scientific community and want to open this system up to everyone so that we can all benefit from an accelerated pace of research.”

Dr. Frezza and Dr. Kleinbaum both hold doctorate degrees in chemistry from The Scripps Research Institute and Stanford University, respectively. The company also maintains an Advisory Board that includes professors at Carnegie Mellon and Stanford, as well as the founder of Wolfram Research and Wolfram Alpha, Dr. Stephen Wolfram (more about the company can be found at www.EmeraldTherapeutics.com).

The conclusion of the Series B funding brings Emerald’s total funding to $13.5 million. Brian Singerman from Founders Fund and Max Levchin, a co-founder and former CTO at PayPal, both serve on the Board of Directors at Emerald.

“In providing access to state-of-the-art experimentation with little investment risk in capital equipment and personnel resources, the ECL will spur innovation and help investors and entrepreneurs de-risk potential company concepts by early testing of hypotheses and confirmation of initial results,” said David Pompliano, entrepreneur in residence at Third Rock Ventures. “Transformative stuff!”

About Emerald Therapeutics

Emerald Therapeutics is a venture-backed biotechnology company based in Menlo Park, California. Founded in 2010 by two scientists and life-long friends from Philadelphia, Emerald is staffed by top scientists and engineers from around the world. The company’s mission is to change the fundamental landscape of pharmaceutical development. Emerald’s investors include Founders Fund and Max Levchin, a co-founder of PayPal.

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