Colossal Biosciences, the Texas-based company working to bring back the woolly mammoth, is creating a spin-off software company that will focus on using data technology to advance bioscience.

The newly independent company, Form Bio, will focus on computational life sciences, which sits at the intersection of biology, medicine and computing. The Company’s software platform is designed to help biotechnology companies such as Colossal Biosciences accelerate innovation and collaboration by providing users with a range of data tools that use artificial intelligence and engineering technologies. machine learning.

Colossal Biosciences is led by Austin-based entrepreneur Ben Lamm and Harvard Medical School geneticist George Church. The company, which has offices in Austin, Dallas and Boston, was founded last year with the goal of advancing the field of deextinction and the fight against climate change. He is most famous for his lofty dream of bringing back the woolly mammoth and recently announced his intention to try and save another extinct animal, the Tasmanian tiger.

Form Bio will be led by a pair of co-CEOs: Kent Wakeford, who previously served as COO of Colossal; and Andrew Busey, Product Manager at Colossal. Colossal CEO Ben Lamm also helped found the new company, which worked for Colossal as the core computational biology team. The two companies will continue to work together on de-extinction issues.

Colossal executives have previously said they plan to spin off the tech and business, and Form Bio is the first example of technology he’s developed to become a standalone company. The new company will have offices in Austin and Dallas, with the majority of its team based in central Texas for now.

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Colossal plans to use breakthrough gene-editing technologies to restore animals including the woolly mammoth and the Tasmanian tiger. He predicted that he could bring both animals back within the next decade. In order to make de-extinction possible, Colossal has worked to develop a range of innovative technologies and teams, including a software team to perform comparative genomic analysis work.

The Colossal woolly mammoth should be a hybrid of an Asian elephant and a mammoth. The company built on work done by Church, who used a technology known as CRISPR to copy mammoth genes into the genome of an Asian elephant in 2015. CRISPR, an acronym for “repetitions short palindromic cells evenly spaced in clusters”, is a breakthrough biotechnology. which has the potential to modify DNA and could be used in a variety of ways. Form Bio’s technology was developed to help speed up this process.

“On our way to deextinction and species preservation, we are building technical knowledge that has much broader applications for both human health care and other issues,” Lamm said.

Form Bio’s software platform allows users to export data in any way they want, perform computational analysis using artificial intelligence and machine learning tools, and then share the resulting insights with peers and others in their industry.

Austin-based entrepreneur Ben Lamm and geneticist George Church are the founders of Colossal Biosciences, a company focused on de-extinction technologies.

Lamm, a serial entrepreneur who has founded several companies, said the software was a natural starting point for innovation for Colossal. The company works to create software tools for comparative genomics and computational biology.

“We started innovating around building a tool internally that we could leverage to do all the comparison with genomics, it’s much faster, much better,” Lamm said. “We are pushing the limits of these tools and developing new tools.

Form Bio’s software was created by a Colossal team offering tools for things they think could be better automated, or have an algorithm designed to create better systems for synthetic biology discoveries. For example, more powerful communication tools.

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Colossal partners, including universities like Harvard and the University of Melbourne, started using the in-house software and it became apparent that there were broader uses in areas like molecule design or research. on cancer, Lamm said.

Form Bio’s software is designed to help teams with data visualization, collaboration, workflow, and data management to better organize and streamline data. Its customers are expected to include universities, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, as well as developers, manufacturers and lab managers.

“Any platform user can use any cloud provider to import third-party data, mine their footage, and export it wherever they want. It’s a set of tools that anyone can use to import whatever they need and then work with the data,” Wakeford said.

Wakeford said the platform, which is largely powered by machine learning algorithms, will be able to take biological data and perform analyzes on it, such as predicting genetic changes, designing a molecule or aid in the manufacturing process.

“You can optimize it to actually create anything you want to create,” Wakeford said. “Applications started within de-extinction, but we see the ability to help with everything from cell and gene therapies, to biomaterials, to biofuels, to recyclable plastics, to food alternatives. There is a vast field of innovation that is being driven by advances in synthetic biology, and our platform can help them all. »

The new company has plans for rapid growth and has already raised $30 million. Form Bio currently employs around 40 people and plans to grow to around 75 employees by the end of 2023.

Wakeford said Texas, in particular, is becoming a hotbed of biotechnology talent, and the software tools created by Form Bio will help accelerate innovation.

“Texas is making big investments to become one of the major organic manufacturing centers in the United States, from Houston to Dallas, and there are also many large manufacturing plants,” Wakeford said. “Form Bio will play a key role in helping this industry advance its scientific innovation throughout Texas, as well as the rest of the country.”