NVIDIA and Top VC Firms Invest in Vilya, a Biotech Spinout from Seattle’s Institute for Protein Design


Vilya, a biotech startup built from technology developed at the Seattle-based Institute for Protein Design (IPD), announced an expanded $71 million Series A investment round. The 2-year-old company, which has operations in Seattle and the Bay Area, uses advanced machine learning and AI techniques to help develop macrocyclic drugs, a promising new type of medicine.

“The current state of the art in discovering macrocycle drugs is slow and relies on legacy screening techniques with limited chemical diversity,” Madrona Ventures wrote in blog post Thursday about its investment in the company. “Vilya is upending the status quo, leveraging best-in-class protein engineering tools to crack the code on intelligently designing these complex but powerful molecules.”

Vilya is one of several spinouts from the IPD, led by protein design pioneer David Baker. AI-powered protein design is being used to create new therapeutics, vaccines, biosensors, materials and more. The field is moving fast, and IPD research is behind many of the advances.

Vilya last year hired biotech vet Cyrus Harmon as its CEO. Harmon previously co-founded and led Olema Oncology.