Life sciences R&D platform to expand product suite and fuel biotech breakthroughs tackling COVID-19 to cancer to climate change
SAN FRANCISCO, May 28, 2020 — Benchling, the leading life sciences R&D cloud platform, announced it closed $50 million in Series D funding led by Alkeon and joined by new investors Spark Capital, Lux Capital and ICONIQ Partners, as well as existing investors Thrive Capital, Benchmark and Menlo Ventures. The round comes at one of the most pivotal moments for the biotechnology industry as companies race to deliver diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines for COVID-19, while advances such as CRISPR and lab robotics continue to fuel breakthroughs in medicine, food and agriculture, energy and materials. Benchling will use the investment to build advanced product capabilities, expand its international presence, and drive adoption across leading R&D organizations, bringing the power of modern-day software to drive the rapid transformation of the life sciences industry.
"The disciplines of biopharma and biotech will create solutions that address some of our generation's biggest challenges, from COVID-19 and various forms of cancer to other serious threats to our welfare," said Mark McLaughlin, general partner at Alkeon. "Benchling has engineered an end-to-end, purpose-built software platform indispensable to life sciences companies leading the charge on global R&D. Scientists on the front lines of groundbreaking research leverage Benchling as go-to infrastructure that empowers them to innovate and collaborate at scale, while doing so with unprecedented speed and accuracy."
Since launching in 2012, more than 230,000 scientists and 1,000 R&D organizations have adopted Benchling's cloud platform to centralize massively complex experimental datasets and optimize R&D processes. Benchling doubled its customer base over the past year across industries ranging from pharmaceuticals and fuels to agriculture and food. Scientists report that the solution doubles R&D productivity, with customers at the forefront of COVID-19 research, such as Gilead Sciences, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Mammoth Biosciences, seeing usage soar 54% since the start of the pandemic.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, biotechnology is in the global spotlight like never before. We are proud that so many of our customers are relying on Benchling to develop diagnostics, treatments and vaccines with speed and precision," said Saji Wickramasekara, CEO and founder of Benchling. "Rapidly solving COVID-19 is just the start of what will solidify this as the century of biotech. This funding enables us to bring that same speed to life science as a whole, no matter the research area – oncology, food and agriculture, energy, or materials. In particular, with our upcoming products to support chemistry-based R&D and chemically-modified biomolecules, Benchling will soon become a singular solution for all of life science."
Benchling is dedicated to supporting the historic effort to fight COVID-19. The company has launched several new initiatives to accelerate the COVID-19 response, including:
- Offering the Benchling platform pro bono for COVID-19 testing and research. Quantitative Biosciences Institute at UCSF, UC Davis, Corteva Agriscience and more have adopted Benchling's platform to speed up testing and research.
- Providing a free, publicly accessible resource board for scientists, academics and governments to aggregate and exchange all available data on the virus, helping speed efforts to find a cure.
- Centralizing donation requests from the scientific community for COVID-19 testing reagents, instruments and personal protective equipment (PPE).
"Biotech will be a major market force in the coming decade," said Will Reed, general partner at Spark Capital. "Every person on the planet will be reliant on the next era of biotech in areas from health to food -- and it's more essential than ever to give scientists market-leading technology that makes it easier to convert the complexity of biology into a force for progress. As the world increasingly runs on biotech, biotech will run on Benchling."
So far this year, Benchling has launched several product enhancements, including Benchling for Lab Automation to help companies maximize lab automation investments, and Benchling Insights, which gives life scientists the ability to query, visualize and collaborate around complex biological data.