Form Bio spun-out to address ‘computational hurdles’ facing pharma

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Sergey Shulgin
© GettyImages/Sergey Shulgin

Related tags Artificial intelligence Drug discovery Data management

Colossal Biosciences spins out Form Bio, which emerges with funding and a software platform that is designed to be used across drug discovery, cell and gene therapy, manufacturing, and academic research.

Form Bio has been spun-out of Colossal Biosiences, which is a company that is focused on ‘de-extinction,’ having plans to resurrect extinct species, such as the woolly mammoth and thylacine (also known as the Tasmanian tiger).

Through its work on the de-extinction process, Colossal developed software that combined artificial intelligence and biology. According to the company, its scientists wanted to address the lack of necessary software and inadequacy of traditional bioinformatic processes, which led to the development of the commercial platform at the heart of Form Bio.

The platform can be used to manage large datasets, execute verified workflows, visualize results, and collaborate with peers. Form Bio states that these capabilities can “dramatically simplify computation work”​ for biologists and other science professionals.

Within its target range of consumers, Form Bio outlines that its platform could help in both drug discovery and manufacturing within the pharma industry.

On the platform’s potential on manufacturing, Claire Aldridge, Form Bio’s CSO, told BioPharma-Reporter: “For manufacturing of biologic therapeutics, there’s a set of failure points we’re just getting insight into that have to do with the construct sequence itself, often stemming from hairpin loops or other secondary structures leading to premature truncation or patterns in the nucleic acid sequence the immune system may recognize as foreign.

One of the ways we’re starting to help companies reduce manufacturing risk is by applying advanced machine learning tools and techniques to predict these types of issues, thereby helping to identify the constructs with the greatest chances of success with little to no impact on effectiveness.”

In-house data management

In regard to drug discovery, the platform can help ease the management of the large amounts of data required in the process. Aldridge stated that being able to manage this data in-house, through Form Bio’s platform, could allow companies to carry out certain tasks, such as workflow execution, and data analysis/visualization, and avoid outsourcing parts of the drug discovery process.

Enabling the scientists to manage data and carry out computational work will be possible as Form Bio designed the platform to be a more accessible, “app-like experience”,​ Aldridge stated.

Form Bio has launched as a standalone company with US$30m (€30.8m) that was raised through a Series A funding. The funding round was led by Jazz Venture Partners, and Colossal stated that the financing was oversubscribed.

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