(Bloomberg) -- Marc Tessier-Lavigne, the former president of Stanford University who resigned last year after questions arose about his scientific research, has a new job as chief executive officer of a drug development startup. 

The company, Xaira Therapeutics, launched this week with $1 billion in capital commitments from some of Silicon Valley’s biggest firms, including Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners. The company aims to use artificial intelligence models to find new drugs to treat diseases. 

Tessier-Lavigne’s tenure at Stanford was marred by controversy surrounding questions about research data in papers he co-authored. Last year a special committee found no evidence of fraud or data falsification on his part. He remained a Stanford faculty member. A spokesperson for Xaira said that Tessier-Lavigne is taking a leave of absence from the university to work at the startup. 

Read More: Stanford Student Uncovered Scandal That Took Down a President

Xaira was incubated at Foresite Labs and at venture firm ARCH Venture Partners, which has backed giants such as Illumina, Sage Therapeutics and Vir Biotechnology.

ARCH’s Robert Nelsen said he sought out Tessier-Lavigne to lead the company, and that he had support from investors — including some who said they would back the company only if Tessier-Lavigne led it. “It was exactly the opposite of what you might think,” said Nelsen, who added he had also backed a company Tessier-Lavigne co-founded, Denali Therapeutics, and said he had “huge confidence in him.”

The company also has support from a high-wattage roster of investors including F-Prime, NEA, Lux Capital, Menlo Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

In addition to academic positions as president of Stanford and Rockefeller University, Tessier-Lavigne was previously senior vice president of research drug discovery at Genentech Inc.

--With assistance from Janet Lorin.

(Updates with Xaira spokesperson comment in the third paragraph.)

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