How Quantum Computing Can Help Us Understand Biology
ALSO: Getting Closer to "$100 Genome" Capability; SynBio and Bioluminescent Petunias; AI vs Human in Drug Discovery
Hi! I am Andrii Buvailo, and this is my weekly newsletter, ‘Where Tech Meets Bio,’ where I talk about technologies, breakthroughs, and great companies moving the biopharma industry forward.
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Now, coming back to today’s topics!
Weekly tech+bio highlights:
🔬 Ascidian Therapeutics receives FDA clearance for the first-ever RNA editing trial in the US to combat inherited vision loss in Stargardt disease, using a novel "exon editing" technology that corrects genetic errors without altering the DNA, potentially lowering risks associated with permanent genome changes.
💰 Science 37, a firm specializing in decentralized clinical trials technology, is going private in a deal valued at $38 million with eMed, a sharp decline from its past valuation of over $1 billion, reflecting challenges in revenue growth and market adaptation post-COVID-19.
📈 Mid-stage CNS biotech Alto Neuroscience plots $89M IPO
📉 23andMe struggles with profitability and faces Nasdaq delisting, with its stock price below $1. Despite its popularity in genetic sequencing, the company's business model fails to generate recurring revenue, and efforts to monetize DNA data for drug discovery have yet to yield new drugs.
💰 Aqemia, a Paris-based AI-driven drug discovery startup, secures €60m in Series A funding to advance its use of generative AI and quantum-inspired algorithms in developing new drug molecules, highlighting its rapid progress with three cancer drugs in preclinical stages and partnerships with pharmaceutical giants like Sanofi and Servier.
🔬 Exscientia launches EXCYTE-2 clinical study to advance cancer treatment in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) patients, utilizing AI for analyzing patient responses to therapies, with the goal of improving treatment efficacy and patient outcomes.
💰 Monomer Bio raises $5.6 million in seed funding to enhance drug discovery and therapy development with a platform that combines laboratory automation and data analytics, promising increased efficiency and productivity in cell-based research sectors like gene editing and T-cell engineering.
🔬 Neuralink claims the first successful human implant of its brain device, Telepathy, aiming to enable control of digital devices through thought, with the patient showing promising recovery and neuron spike detection, despite facing skepticism and regulatory challenges.
💰 ARCH Venture Partners, one of the top investors in the biotech ecosystem, is raising $3 billion for a new fund.
🔬 A USC Stem Cell study identifies gene activity influencing immune cell production from hematopoietic stem cells, potentially enhancing treatments like bone marrow transplantation, with findings published in Science Advances highlighting associations between nearly 40 genes and the production of various immune cell types.
🔬 Finnish researchers developed HASTEN, an AI-driven virtual screening technology that significantly accelerates drug discovery by combining neural networks with traditional docking methods, enabling the screening of 1.56 billion compounds in about ten days compared to months, with a high recall rate of top-scoring hits, marking a major advancement in handling billion-scale compound libraries efficiently.
💰 RayzeBio co-founder, industry veterans launch new biotech VC Scion Life Sciences with $310 million
🔬 Almirall partners with Microsoft for a three-year collaboration to harness AI in dermatology drug discovery
🔒 The debate on AI's biosecurity risks escalates as OpenAI's white paper suggests GPT-4 offers "mild uplift" in creating lethal viruses, a view criticized by NYU's Gary Marcus for underestimating AI's potential in bioweapon development. Despite skepticism and calls for more research, concerns persist over AI-enhanced biotechnology's capabilities and the ethical implications of its use in weaponizing pathogens.
💰 Evaxion Biotech announces the closing of a $15 million public offering to fund its AI-Immunology™ powered vaccine development, with participation from MSD Global Health Innovation Fund, aiming to advance its clinical and preclinical pipelines.