AI drug discovery company Xaira launches with $1b investment


Xaira Therapeutics, a joint incubation by ARCH Venture Partners and Foresite Labs, has launched with more than $1 billion of committed capital from lead investors.

Xaira is building a platform for drug discovery and development that it hopes will advance multiple drug programmes and unlock biological understanding to inform future discovery.

The company was co-founded by Dr David Baker, Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington School of Medicine. It employs a group of researchers who developed the leading models for protein and antibody design, RFdiffusion and RFantibody, while in Dr Baker’s lab.

Xaira’s broader team will advance these models and develop new methods that can connect the world of biological targets and engineered molecules to the human experience of disease.

“We have reached the point where AI finally allows us to see biology in new ways, and translate those discoveries to better treatments for disease,” said Robert Nelsen, Managing Director and Co-Founder of ARCH Venture Partners. “This creates an enormous opportunity for us to rethink drug discovery entirely. For this reason, Xaira is the largest initial funding commitment in ARCH history.”

Xaira is led by Dr Marc Tessier-Lavigne, former Chief Scientific Officer of Genentech and former President of Rockefeller and Stanford Universities. He said: “In my previous roles, I witnessed an earlier generation of technologies fundamentally change drug discovery, delivering new medicines that alleviate the burden of disease for many patients. Now, witnessing how AI is impacting other industries and the considerable progress in applications of AI in biology, I believe we are poised for a revolution.”

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