Synthetic biology innovator opens new campus to speed up drug discovery

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/koto_feja
© GettyImages/koto_feja

Related tags: synthetic biology, Cell line, AI

Absci Corporation says its newly opened campus in Vancouver, Washington, in the US, expands its ability to accelerate discovery and development of biologic drugs.

The facility, located not too far from the downtown location that housed the company for the last four years, covers 85,000 square feet of laboratory, office, and meeting spaces.

The new laboratory space, which is scalable, is designed to maximize flow, increase capacity, and readily reconfigure as needed, said the company.

The incorporation of in-house tissue culture capabilities, high throughput analytical instrumentation, advanced liquid handling and automation, and a dedicated clean air fermentation facility, in conjunction with an offsite computational cluster, facilitate the expanded scope of its R&D activities, said the innovator.

Integrated technologies for high volume data capture, across the company’s workflow, generate the input for ongoing training of its deep learning AI models for drug discovery and cell line design, it added.

Optimizing drug candidate prediction process

Absci’s platform is built to design and generate protein-based drug candidates and help screen them for optimal functioning. We spoke to is CEO, Sean McClain in July, following the firm’s successful IPO.

One of the exciting aspects of our technology is that we can screen billions of different drug candidates in a single experiment looking at protein functionality and manufacturing ability. We are feeding this data into our deep learning models and what this allows us to do is ultimately go fully in silico where we can predict the best drug candidate towards a specific target and the associated manufacturing cell line. In the future, data is going to be what drives our business and, ultimately, allow us to get the best drugs to patients at truly unprecedented speed,"​ he commented then.

The company says protein-based drugs, or biologics, have already transformed vaccine development, oncology therapies, and treatments for chronic diseases like diabetes but these breakthroughs only scratch the surface of what’s possible. “The next generation of biologics will be able to treat the most complex diseases, like neurologic and autoimmune disorders, in highly targeted, and even personalized ways. Proteins have limitless potential and can be designed to be exquisitely specific.”

Alliance with EQRx

And, earlier this month, Absci announced it was partnering with pharma company, EQRx, to jointly engineer and develop several clinical candidates across multiple therapeutic areas, including oncology and immunology.

"EQRx came to us specifically to take advantage of our ability to rapidly discover new protein-based drugs of any modality - think new formats like T-cell engagers, bispecifics, VHHs - using our AI models and proprietary assays to design and optimize candidates in the full length format and in the scalable production cell line,” ​the CEO told us then.

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