Health/Life Sciences

Funding Information: Enzyme design startup lands $33M; dependancy restoration firm raises $3M

Inside Arzeda’s labs in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / James Thorne)

— Protein design company Arzeda raised $33 million, the Seattle startup announced Wednesday. The company generates new enzymes for industrial, agricultural and other applications.

Arzeda creates blueprints for enzymes using protein design software spun out of the lab of David Baker, head of the University of Washington’s Institute for Protein Design. Arzeda also tests and develops the enzymes in its labs in the city’s South Lake Union neighborhood; GeekWire took a tour a few years ago.

Arzeda recently inked a partnership with Unilever to discover new enzymes for cleaning and laundry products. It also partners with oil giant BP, and develops enzymes involved in fermentation with biotech company Amyris.

CEO and VP of research Alexandre Zanghelli co-founded Arzeda in 2009, the same year he earned his Ph.D. in Baker’s lab. Arzeda is one of several protein engineering startups founded on research from the lab, including A-Alpha Bio, Cyrus Biotechnology and vaccine company Icosavax.

The Series B funding round was led by Conti Ventures, the venture arm of Continental Grain Company, and included new investors Lewis & Clark Agrifood, Bunge Ventures, the venture capital arm of agribusiness company Bunge, and Circulate Capital. Previous investors participating in the funding round include OS Fund, Casdin Capital, UMI and Bioeconomy Capital.

Arzeda had previously raised $15.2 million in its Series A round and follow-on funding in 2017. The new funding will enable the company, which now has 43 employees, to further develop and commercialize its portfolio of enzymes.

WeConnect co-founders Murphy Jensen and Daniela Luzi Tudor. (WeConnect Photos)

 WEconnect Health Management raised $3 million to help people with substance misuse and mental health issues. The Seattle startup’s healthcare products include an app that provides recovery techniques to reduce relapse and enables people to join support meetings, track progress, and schedule “healthy routines.”

Over the last year the company has launched a free version of the app, tallied more than 750,000 participants in its mobile recovery meetings, and signed up healthcare partners Molina Healthcare of California and Be Well Texas. WEConnect employs more than 42 people.

The latest round of funding, from current investors, brings the company’s total funding to $43 million. Investors include Fred Luddy, the billionaire founder of tech giant ServiceNow, and several other high net worth backers.

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