Meet The Startup Revolutionizing The Language Of Biology

London-based software platform Synthace is on a mission not just to digitize the lab, but to revolutionize the way biology is done with one simple idea: a universal language.

Consider the automotive industry and its suite of tools that take an initial idea through to simulation, build and testing. After Autodesk was formed in 1982, it wasn’t long until car designers were creating CAD (computer-aided design) files, testing and manipulating the designs digitally with 3D simulation and engineering in CAE environments (computer-aided engineering), automating their physical build with robotics and CAM (computer-aided manufacturing), and managing the whole process of people, engineering, data and assets with PLM software (product lifecycle management). Files are standardized across the board, they work on various platforms, multiple teams can collaborate internationally, and insights from one design, test and build process can be integrated into another. In short, the automotive industry has an integrated suite of tools that allows for digitization, which has been around since the 1980s.

In biology, there’s not been the same push for an integrated digital platform to design, manage, automate and analyze the ever more complex process of life science. In fact, biology is well-known for its reliance on repetitive manual tasks which require scientists to be physically pipetting or cell-culturing in the fume hood; for its lack of reproducible results when experiments are conducted and recorded in such a non-standardised manner; and for its “brute force” trial-and-error approach to drug discovery.

And the costs of the inefficient, error-prone process that is drug discovery are not only high but increasing. Where Moore’s Law illustrates the cheapening and “easy access” of digitization in many technology fields, the pharmaceutical industry has the cleverly named Eroom’s Law (“Moore” spelled backward), described by Jack Scannell and team in 2012, that shows that the number of new drugs approved by the FDA per billion U.S. dollars (inflation-adjusted) spent on R&D has halved roughly every 9 years.

Simply: it’s getting more expensive to create drugs.

Enter Synthace, the startup developing Antha, a language and software platform specifically for biology. In 2018, the company raised a £26 million series B round led by Horizons Ventures, to continue to develop their cloud software platform. With clients and partners such as Microsoft, Merck, Oxford Biomedica, LabGenius and Princeton, the company is fast becoming the pioneer in so-called “Computer-Aided Biology.”

Read more: Forbes

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