As a PhD student, Jen was passionate about her research on Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) — a disease that afflicts 100,000 Americans, disproportionately of African and Latinx descent — and her PhD research led to the discovery of a novel drug target. Dr. Nwankwo went on to found 1910 (named after the year SCD was identified as a disease), validate a beta version of its technology using the very drug target that she discovered as a PhD student, and present research on the identified drug candidate at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Conference. She accomplished this just four years after she presented the drug target at the same conference.
Dr. Nwankwo single-handedly got 1910 accepted into Y Combinator and then accepted into the prestigious LabCentral life science incubator in Cambridge. Along the way, she gained mentorship and Seed financing from notable investors including Sam Altman, who went on to write a Forbes article in 2020 framing 1910 in the same league of innovators as Tesla and Ginkgo Bioworks. Dr. Nwankwo assembled an all-star team of advisors that includes Dr. George Golumbeski (famous as one of the most prolific biopharma deal-makers of the last decade) and three Big Pharma veteran medicinal chemists (with 70+ years of combined experience) to support the development of 1910’s AI-driven drug discovery engines. She has built a strong, interdisciplinary, core team of AI research scientists, machine learning engineers, computational chemists, assay biologists, and software engineers from top institutions including Harvard, MIT, Tufts, and Johns Hopkins.
1910 Genetics plans to use this round of financing to scale their AI and biology lab automation platforms, continue to grow their team, expand their partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies, and build a pipeline of therapeutic programs. We’re proud to co-lead this round with Playground Global.
Congratulations to the 1910 Genetics team on emerging from stealth and completing a successful Series A round. It’s personally meaningful to me to be working with my friend, colleague, and mentor Samir Kumar, a managing director at M12, to support 1910 on its important mission going forward.
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