Colossal Biosciences spin out Form Bio lands $30 million for breakthrough computational life sciences platform

New spin out aims to empower life scientists with complete platform for managing large datasets, bridging the gap between data and discovery.

Colossal Biosciences, the de-extinction company behind the woolly mammoth and thylacine, has announced the launch of Form Bio, a new independent company offering a breakthrough computational life sciences platform.

Longevity.Technology: Form Bio enters the market with an oversubscribed $30 million Series A funding round led by JAZZ Venture Partners with participation from Thomas Tull, Colossal lead investor. Form Bio offers an advanced, comprehensive software platform that replaces cumbersome, code-heavy processes with simple, user-friendly software, empowering scientists to reach discoveries and breakthroughs in less time and with less effort.

Form Bio is the first tech spinout from Colossal, a company which was founded by emerging tech and software entrepreneur Ben Lamm and world-renowned geneticist and serial biotech entrepreneur George Church, PhD. It was is the first to apply CRISPR technology for the purposes of species de-extinction, and part of Colossal’s strategy includes commercialising scientific innovations on that de-extinction path through new, independently operating companies.

The biologists and data scientists at Colossal, who are embarking on this potentially world-changing de-extinction journey, have also set out to address technical and computational hurdles in life science research.

“Form Bio is the missing piece in scientific discovery,” said Ben Lamm, Colossal Co-Founder and CEO. “When you have a big scientific endeavor like de-extincting a species, you not only need the smartest scientists in the world, you need powerful software, much of which simply hasn’t existed until now.

“After reviewing everything available on the market, we chose to create our own software solution. Now, we want to share this modern, comprehensive platform with the broader community to impact other areas of scientific innovation, including human health [1].”

Colossal’s team of computational biologists along with the team of scientists at the Church Lab, and over 35 geneticists at Colossal’s labs in Boston and Dallas, worked to develop and refine Form Bio’s core platform capabilities for the broader market.

Recognising the lack of necessary software capabilities in the market, and inadequacies of traditional bioinformatics processes, the Colossal team developed Form Bio as a commercially-available platform – one that likely to prove to be incredibly useful to life science breakthroughs across companies, labs and universities. The platform is designed to be transformative across an array of use cases including drug discovery, gene and cell therapy, manufacturing efficiency and academic research, among others.

“Science is entering an entirely new era in which advancements will not just treat diseases but cure them,” said John Spinale, Managing Partner at JAZZ Venture Partners.

Explaining that every scientific discipline tied to these types of innovations will unavoidably require the rapid analysis of enormous volumes of data, he added: “Form Bio has developed a cutting-edge solution to squarely address this data deluge while responding to the industry’s acute need for a simple, user-friendly platform to replace mountains of code, cumbersome data wrangling processes and underdeveloped tools [1].”

Driven by deep learning AI algorithms, Form Bio aims to empower life scientists with a complete platform for managing large datasets, executing verified workflows, visualising results and collaborating with their peers. Created to bring these powerful capabilities together in one cohesive platform, Form Bio seeks to provide an intuitive user experience that is designed to dramatically simplify computational work for biologists and other science professionals.

All eyes will are on the Emerald Isle this week as the Longevity Summit Dublin brings together a host of speakers covering the spectrum of this booming sector
Colossal Co-Founder George Church

Colossal Co-Founder George Church, Professor at Harvard Medical School and MIT and director of Synthetic Biology at the Wyss Institute in Boston said: “Computer-aided design, fabrication, testing analyses and machine learning are key to the future of bioengineering in general and specifically restoration of endangered and extinct genetic diversity for keystone species in vital ecosystems.

“Form Bio is the software critical to pave the way. As scientist-engineers we need these pipelines and look forward to faster breakthroughs in scientific discoveries and applications, now that software has caught up with science.”

READ MORE: George Church: Learn from COVID and fast-track therapies that reverse aging

“With rising geopolitical tensions, now, more than ever, the US needs to be investing in technologies and tools that help keep us competitive across the intelligence front,” said Thomas Tull, Form Bio investor.

“Form Bio is a critical addition to both our public and private arsenals. With innovative software that sits at the intersection of biology and discovery and enables scientists to collaborate with greater ease, Form Bio is another proof point of Colossal’s ability to apply breakthrough technologies to make incredible scientific and technological advances [1].”

The Form platform brings together core components of data management, workflows, results visualization and collaboration in one synergistic solution. Included as part of Form is an extensive catalog of verified workflows, covering a wide range of scientific use cases from ancient DNA analysis to transcriptomics to AAV gene therapy. The platform also serves as a foundation for advanced, AI-based applications tailored to the needs of specific industries and academic fields.

“Colossal Biosciences is at the forefront of advancing genomics for a healthier planet. Combining AI, software and biology is the kind of innovative thinking and approach to problem-solving that compelled IQT to invest in Colossal from the start. We’re looking forward to watching how Form Bio will transform the field,” said Eugene Chiu, IQT Senior Partner, Investments [1].

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[1] https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220927005221/en/5292701/

Photograph: Form Bio, John Davidson
Main image: pictured from left are co-CEO Andrew Busey, director of bioinformatics Brandi Cantarel, co-CEO Kent Wakeford, chief strategy officer Claire Aldridge and co-founder Ben Lamm.

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