Cancer Drug Design Company Associated with Longtime NFCR Support Attracts New Investment - NFCR

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Cancer Drug Design Company Associated with Longtime NFCR Support Attracts New Investment

Baltimore startup that uses software to develop drugs raises $1.5M


A Baltimore startup that uses computer software to develop cancer drugs has raised $1.5 million in new funding, according to a recent filing.

Rasio Therapeutics is part of Early Charm Ventures, a Baltimore company focused on running and growing startups. The $1.5 million investment comes from BlueDot Bio, a relatively new investment company, said Ken Malone, managing director of Early Charm Ventures.

Malone said what’s special about Rasio is the software it uses to design drugs.

Just like an architect uses software to design a house or an engineer perfects the schematics of a gadget on a computer, Malone explained that Rasio does something similar when it develops drugs. It has software that allows people to model proteins and “figure out what kind of molecule would attach to that protein and interfere with the way the protein would work inside your body.”

This can prevent diseases, Malone said, and it’s how almost every drug works.

Currently, Rasio is working on cancer drugs, Malone said, and it could be more than a decade before they’re commercially ready.

“It’s a painfully long time, but that’s the way all drug development is,” Malone said. “We’re actually a bit faster than other methods.”

Rasio (pronounced “ratio”) was spun out of another company at Early Charm Ventures, SilcsBio, which itself was spun out of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, about a decade ago, Malone said. SilcsBio produces software that other pharmaceutical companies use to design drugs.

In 2019, Rasio announced it would partner with the National Foundation for Cancer Research, which committed $1 million to the startup. Malone said that partnership is still going strong.

Rasio shares employees with other Early Charm Ventures portfolio companies but Malone said there is the equivalent of three full-time employees working on Rasio at any given time.

This article was originally published on the The Business Journals website.