Seismic Therapeutic pledges new era of immunology drug development with machine learning

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/andrewbrookes
Pic:getty/andrewbrookes

Related tags: Immunology, machine learning

Seismic Therapeutic, Inc., a biotechnology company advancing machine learning for immunology drug development, has announced its launch and $101m in Series A financing.

Seismic Therapeutic is accelerating a pipeline of biologics targeting dysregulated adaptive immunity to treat autoimmune diseases, based on its IMPACT platform which ‘systemically integrates machine learning, structural biology, protein engineering and translational immunology to invest novel biologics and optimize properties with significantly improved efficiency and scale over conventional therapeutics discovery’.

The Series A was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from lead founding investors Timothy A. Springer and Polaris Partners, along with new investors GV, Boxer Capital, Samsara BioCapital, and management and founders.

The financing will support Seismic Therapeutic’s further advancement toward the clinic of its first two lead drug programs, one targeting Ig (immunoglobulin)-mediated autoimmunity and the other targeting cell-mediated autoimmunity. Meanwhile, the company will continue to build its platform to further develop machine learning technologies applied to immunology therapeutics. 

IMPACT Platform 

The IMPACT platform seeks to integrate machine learning with protein engineering, structural biology and translational immunology: enabling the accelerated design and analysis of vast numbers of proteins and protein modifications in parallel.

In development, the trial and error methods used in conventional biologics development can be avoided and biologic function optimized, according to the company.

The result is the generation of drug molecules ‘on an unprecedented scale’ in order to engineer better therapeutic solutions in immunology.

“Biologics drug development has undergone extraordinary advances in recent years, and the advent of machine learning working in concert with structural biology and protein engineering offers an entirely new trajectory for creating innovative biologics medicines,”​ said Timothy Springer, PhD, Founder of Seismic Therapeutic and Professor at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “Seismic is taking a major leap forward by fully integrating machine learning throughout the biologics drug development process, whereas earlier efforts to date have generally used machine learning in a much less integrated way.” 

One of the leaders at Seismic Therapeutic is Jo Viney, who was the president and CSO of Pandion Therapeutics (a company developing a pipeline of precision immune modulators for application in autoimmune diseases) which was acquired by Merck for $1.85bn last year.

Other biotech veterans in the company’s leadership are:

  • Alan Crane, Founder, Chairman
  • Nathan Higginson-Scott, PhD, Chief Technology Officer and Senior VP Drug Creation
  • Kevin Otipoby, PhD, Senior VP Immunology
  • Edward Freedman, JD, Chief Financial Officer
  • John Sundy, MD, PhD, Incoming Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D

Academic Founders of Seismic Therapeutic include experts with pioneering work in immunology mechanisms, structural biology of antibodies and proteins, and machine learning for protein engineering:

  • Timothy Springer, PhD, Latham Family Professor and Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School; and Principal Investigator and Professor of Medicine, Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Debora Marks, MBChB, PhD, Associate Professor of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • Jeffrey Ravetch, MD, PhD, the Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Professor and head of the Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology at the Rockefeller University
  • Andrew Kruse, PhD, Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School
  • Eric Sundberg, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine

Related topics: Bio Developments