Varda Space Industries Secures $90 Million Series B Funding to Scale Drug Manufacturing in Space

Varda Space Industries, a pioneering space startup founded in 2021 by Delian Asparouhov and Will Bruey, has achieved a significant milestone with the closure of a $90 million Series B funding round. This development comes shortly after the successful return of their inaugural drug manufacturing capsule from orbit.

The funding infusion signifies a pivotal moment for Varda, propelling the company from its initial demonstration mission towards regular, customer-centric space missions. Delian Asparouhov, the co-founder of Varda and partner at Founders Fund, shared with TechCrunch that the company is gearing up to expand its operations in scaling the commercial viability of microgravity pharmaceutical research.

Varda’s primary mission, which concluded in February after a remarkable 10-month orbit, demonstrated the crystallization of drugs in microgravity. This venture builds upon decades of similar experiments conducted by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and earlier space missions.

The endeavor by Varda is unique due to several factors outlined by Asparouhov. Unlike experiments conducted on the ISS, Varda’s approach leverages regular, low-cost rideshare launches facilitated by partnerships with SpaceX and Rocket Lab. This infrastructure advancement, combined with Varda\’s innovative reentry capsule and laboratory equipment, signifies a turning point in space-based pharmaceutical research.

The success of Varda’s inaugural mission, particularly in reformulating the HIV medicine ritonavir, underscores the potential of microgravity in advancing drug development. Varda has also pioneered hyper-gravity crystallization technology, an innovative screening method that harnesses gravity as a key variable in scientific experiments. This research marks a significant departure from traditional drug manufacturing methods and opens new avenues for pharmaceutical advancements.

Varda\’s recent Series B funding will be instrumental in accelerating its mission to commercialize microgravity drug manufacturing. The startup\’s ability to attract significant investment reflects the growing interest and confidence in the burgeoning space industry. It is worth noting that, as TechCrunch reports, Varda\’s first mission \”after 10 months in orbit, does not mark the first time a drug has been crystallized in microgravity\” because it has been going on at the International Space Station and even the Space Shuttle before that for years. But for a private player to do this is a significant achievement.

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