Warp Drive Bio LLC is seeking to discover microbial-generated natural products with drug-like properties that will enable it to hit targets refractory to standard small molecules and biologics. The company is using a proprietary database of microbial genomes and search algorithm to systematically mine for candidates.

Sanofi and Third Rock Ventures bet big on the approach when they launched Warp Drive with $125 million in tranched funding comprising up to $75 million in equity and up to an additional $50 million in non-equity funding from the pharma. Greylock Partners participated in the equity round (see BioCentury, Jan 16, 2012).