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Google VC fuels Series A round for pharma software startup

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As major drugmakers spread their R&D bets via a number of partnerships with external groups, Cambridge, MA-based Wingu has raised a Series A round of funding to fuel development of software that enables biopharma groups to track the progress of research projects and analyze the performance of collaborations with partners.

Google Ventures, the independent VC group funded by web giant Google ($GOOG), led the first-round funding, which was also backed by Borealis Ventures. The startup did not reveal the amount of the Series A round announced on Tuesday, and searches of SEC documents turned up no evidence of the deal. Citing Scott Kirsner's Boston Globe piece, FierceBiotech IT reported in March that the Google fund and Borealis were behind Wingu.

"The pharmaceutical industry is going through one of the most dramatic transformations in its history," Krishna Yeshwant, a partner at Google Ventures, in a statement. "Wingu has created a product that will increase the speed of drug discovery, simplify the process of research team cooperation, and centralize project management. We are excited by the progress Wingu has made in a short period of time and its potential going forward."

The industry has entered the era of open innovation. Over the past several years many pharma companies have reshaped their approaches to R&D, favoring development of drugs with networks of outside partners rather than tackling the work alone. And tech entrepreneurs have begun to respond with software like Wingu's that has been built from the ground up with the open innovation movement in mind. With this new round of funding, Wingu says that it plans to accelerate development of its software, which is now in beta and in use at several major pharma companies.

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