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Pragma Bio Secures $10M From The Venture Collective, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Viking Global, and CJ Investments To Expand Its Proprietary Technology Platform To Discover Novel Medicines

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Pragma Bio developed a first-of-its-kind-map of chemicals designed by nature, housed in humans, and linked to immune-related health outcomes

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., March 24, 2023-- Pragma Bio, the technology-enabled platform for drug discovery formerly known as VastBiome, announced it has raised an additional $10 million in equity to continue its development of proprietary methods in genomic sequencing, artificial intelligence and synthetic biology to discover biomarkers and novel therapeutics to treat immunologic disorders.

The Venture Collective, led the round joined by investors Viking Global Investors, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and CJ Investments (Korean-based strategic investor). The round brings the company’s total venture backing to $15 million.

Pragma Bio is utilizing patient data to explore the synergistic bond between nature's chemistry found in the human body and the immune system with the goal of discovering novel medicines. The new funding will help the company expand its operations, increase product development, and recruit new team members to fuel Pragma Bio’s growth.

"The infusion of funding reflects our goal of unveiling the symbiotic relationship between nature and the human body, enabling us to create natural medicines that foster our well-being," said Kareem Barghouti, the CEO of Pragma Bio. “The participation of world-class healthcare investors is a validation of our approach, which is aimed at uncovering medicines naturally produced within our bodies every day. Patients are waiting for better options, and Pragma Bio will offer them,” he added.

Pragma Bio has created a hypothesis generating discovery engine called Lattice, which archives and sorts through countless interactions and correlations between natural products and human cells that are linked to clinical outcomes. Biologically significant microbial genes are subsequently manipulated and transferred to the laboratory, utilizing state-of-the-art technology to produce and manifest a collection of enzymes and natural chemistries. The company has already gained considerable momentum in discovering immuno-oncology biomarkers and facilitating scalable enzyme expression. Pragma Bio has also established academic and pharmaceutical partnerships with global leaders. Furthermore, Pragma Bio has assembled a team of world-renowned drug hunters that have successfully generated over $30 billion in exits and commercialized medicines. Together, they bring a wealth of expertise to the table, working hand in hand with highly experienced data scientists, chemists and biologists driving the development of the therapeutics platform.

Nick Shekerdemian, Founding Partner of The Venture Collective said "We truly believe that the natural world holds so much potential for treating diseases that lack good therapeutic options. We are excited to work with the outstanding team at Pragma to bridge the gap between natural products and rationally designed therapeutics in order to improve the lives of patients everywhere."

Prem Tumkosit, Managing Director of the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (GHIF) said “GHIF made its initial investment in Pragma Bio in 2020 out of our Next Horizon investment area, which focuses on ground breaking technologies.” Adding that "We're thrilled to continue our support for Pragma Bio in this financing.”

The name Pragma Bio encapsulates the company's mission holistically. In computer programming, pragma refers to a compiler directive that transforms program code into executable actions, effectively bringing the code to life. Pragma Bio is built upon the concept of bringing program code and genetic code to life in a pragmatic fashion.

About Pragma Bio:

Pragma Bio is a tech-enabled therapeutics company creating the first-of-its-kind-map of chemicals designed by nature, housed in humans, and linked to immune-related health outcomes. Pragma Bio is forging into uncharted territory, leveraging the most advanced technologies in machine learning and synthetic biology to scale intelligent discovery with iterative biomanufacturing in the pursuit of novel enzymes and their respective novel chemistries with strong biological signals and desirable therapeutic properties. Pragma Bio is dedicated to developing innovative solutions to bring life-changing medicines to patients through internal efforts and trusted partners. For more information on Pragma Bio, visit

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