The Story of Recursion: From Start to Now

From our earliest days, our story was unlikely. We are a company started by two graduate students and a professor, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our humble and unlikely beginnings are foundational to what we’ve built today.

We were underdogs, and felt that way.
Now we are leaders in this space, and we vow to stay hungry and focused on our mission.

We are a biotechnology company scaling more like a technology company, and we are just getting started.

Key Facts


Founding Year
Team Members
Sq. ft. of Space
70 ft
Climbing Wall in Office
Clinical-Stage Programs
Programs in our pipeline


Chris Gibson
Blake Borgeson




Leaps by BayerBaillie GiffordMubadala CapitalLux CapitalData CollectiveLaurion Capital ManagementCatalioSamsaraCasdin CapitalObvious VenturesFelicis VenturesTwo Sigma VenturesAdvantage Capital Menlo VenturesAME Cloud VenturesEpic VenturesCharles River VenturesIntermountain Ventures

Our bold ambition:
Decode biology to radically improve lives.

By Chris Gibson, Ph.D., Co-Founder & CEO

In 2013, I was working on my Ph.D. in Bioengineering at the University of Utah. I was part of a team that was searching for potential treatments for cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM), a rare, genetic disease that causes clumps of leaky blood vessels in the brain. CCM can lead to seizures, speech or vision problems, and even brain hemorrhages. While there are three genes known to cause CCM, there was (and still is) no approved drug to treat it.

While at the University of Utah I began to have a first-hand appreciation for how traditional, reductionist approaches to drug discovery fail patients. For some time we tested one drug for CCM that was based on historical knowledge and understanding of the disease. This drug ultimately made the symptoms worse in animals. As someone maybe newer and naive to the field I was incredibly frustrated; how is this the best we can do? Is there no more efficient, more effective way to discover potential treatments than relying on the limits of our own intelligence? This idea that we, as humans, know so little about complex biology really bothered me. And so, our team began to use a newer tool to explore the biology of the disease: machine learning.

Our team used open-source machine learning software to scan cellular images and probe the effects of more than 2,000 drug compounds, looking for ones that improved the function of blood vessel cells carrying the defunct genes. These machine learning algorithms ultimately led us to a chemical that reduced the blood vessels by 50% in animal tests. This was incredibly validating and gave me an idea.

I began thinking less about becoming a surgeon — my original, chosen path — and more about the potential, exponential impact we could have by applying machine learning to cell images and generating massive datasets that would reveal new biological interactions, potential drugs, and ultimately, industrialize a process that is ripe for innovation. I thought: I could be a surgeon and impact maybe 100 or so people a year OR I could start Recursion and someday, hopefully, impact hundreds of millions of lives over years.

And so, along with my co-founders Dr. Dean Li (then head of the lab I worked in, now the SVP of Translational Discovery at Merck) and Blake Borgensen (our original CTO and today an ardent advocate for AI ethics), we founded Recursion in 2013. The CCM program became our first clinical-stage program and remains one of our lead programs today. Fast forward to today: six years in business and the progress we have made in that time is unmatched.

Drug discovery is hard. We don’t pretend to make it easy. But by embracing the wave of advanced technologies and thinking introduced by the fourth industrial revolution — machine learning, high-throughput sequencing, CRISPR editing, and more — we stand to bring about a new era of discovery that is more data-driven and predictive than ever before. We can, finally, build a map of human biology, empowering us to decode biology and radically improve people’s lives.

It is that ambitious, bold vision that has gotten me up early and excited every single day since the first day I helped start this company. The future is bright and the path seems clear; digital biology is here to stay, and I am proud for Recursion to be a driver of it.

— Chris Gibson


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August 8, 2023

Predict the protein target(s) for approximately 36 billion chemical compounds in the Enamine REAL Space

July 12, 2023

Announce collaboration with NVIDIA to accelerate groundbreaking foundation models

May 8, 2023

Enter into agreements to acquire Cyclica and Valence to bolster digital chemistry and generative AI capabilities

January 26, 2023

Release RxRx3, the world's largest collection of cellular screening data


September 13, 2022

Initiate phase 2 trial for the potential treatment of familial adenomatous polyposis and a phase 1 trial for the potential treatment of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection

June 20, 2022

Initiate phase 2/3 Trial for the potential treatment of NF2-mutated meningiomas

April 11, 2022

Granted Fast-Track designation for REC-4881 for the potential treatment of familial adenomatous polyposis

March 18, 2022

Enroll first patient in phase 2 trial for the potential treatment of cerebral cavernous malformation


December 7, 2021

Announce transformational collaboration with Roche and Genentech in neuroscience and oncology

December 6, 2021

Expand fibrosis collaboration with Bayer to include inferential search capabilities

Jul 12, 2021

Open on-site child care center to support employees

Jun 15, 2021

Announce first major multidisciplinary expansion in Toronto

April 16, 2021

Close our Initial Public Offering and begin trading on NASDAQ under the symbol $RXRX


September 9, 2020

Collaborate with Bayer in industry-leading partnership for fibrotic diseases

September 9, 2020

Secure $239 million in over-subscribed Series D, led by new investor Leaps by Bayer

July 28, 2020

Finalize company's first acquisition in Vium, a digital vivarium™ company

April 24, 2020

Release second open-source data; launch RxRX19 & RxRx2 on SARS-CoV-2 virus


May 6, 2019

Release first open-source data; launch RxRX1 machine learning competition on Kaggle

February 12, 2019

Close the Series C financing with new, lead investor Baillie Gifford

January 4, 2019

Identify and in-license second clinical-stage asset, REC-2282, for neurofibromatosis type 2


October 19, 2018

Move into current headquarters in downtown Salt Lake City

July 10, 2018

REC-994 is granted an IND for the potential treatment of cerebral cavernous malformation


September 25, 2017

Close Series B financing with lead investor DCVC

January 19, 2017

Move into new lab at 630 Komas Dr.


September 2, 2016

Close Series A financing with lead investor Lux Capital


October 5, 2015

Lead clinical program REC-994 receives FDA Orphan Drug designation


January 1, 2014

Move into the first lab space at 383 S. Colorow


November 5, 2013

Recursion is founded