Cradle raises $24m for GenAI biotech platform

Dutch-Swiss biotech startup Cradle has raised a $24 million in Series A funding. The company, which leverages the potential of generative AI for precise bioengineering, has convinced Index Ventures and Kindred Capital, as well as high-level angel investors, such as Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Lead Director of pharma giant Merck.

Cradle, a biotech company with a team split between Amsterdam and Zurich, combines bioengineering with generative AI to accelerate the manufacturing of biological products such as enzymes, antibodies and lab grown food. Traditionally, bio-products and therapeutics are generated via an extremely cost-intensive research and development process that is very error-prone. Cradle’s mission is to make biology-engineering easier, quicker and more cost effective, by providing a generative AI biotech platform for scientists to design and produce proteins more successfully.

With Cradle’s solution, production projects progress two times faster compared to standard R&D processes. On top of that, Cradle’s technology platform promises to find solutions to protein engineering challenges that humans are not capable of finding with traditional techniques. The platform works with a web-based software that any scientist can use, without help from a bio-informatician and that helps break down traditional data roadblocks. Their proprietary generative AI models are trained on billions of protein sequences as well as data generated in their own wet laboratory.

Cradle’s GenAI biotech platform has sparked global interest, not stopping at renowned companies such as Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Novozymes, and Twist Bioscience. A total of nine leading industry partners were already onboarded in the past year. The Cradle team is now working on more than 12 R&D projects with the aim to engineer a wide range of protein modalities including enzymes, vaccines, peptides, and antibodies across a broad spectrum of desired protein properties. Additionally, their platform could be used to create multi-functional biological products from medicines or sustainable food to detergents and plastics made without petrochemicals, raw materials for clothing or electronics, or even enzymes that can break down plastics.

The start-up has closed its Series A round, which was led by Index Ventures, with participation from Kindred Capital and angel investors, including Chris Gibson, co-founder and CEO of biotech firm Recursion and Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Lead Director at Merck. The current round of funding brings the total amount raised by Cradle to $33M. Cradle will use the funding to accelerate its growth and to invest in its product development and sales capabilities. 

The company is based in Delft, the Netherlands and in Zurich with 10 team members in Delft and 10 in Zurich including the CEO Stef van Grieken. With an expanding team, mostly consisting of bioengineers and machine learning experts, the company also plans to build out additional laboratory and engineering facilities in Amsterdam, to produce more data for their AI models.

(Press release/SR)