Funds will accelerate development of genetic circuits platform and biotechnology partnerships
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., December 19, 2017 (Newswire.com) - Asimov, a startup using computer-aided design to engineer biology, announced today that it has raised $4.7 million in seed funding in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation by Data Collective, Pillar, and AME Cloud Ventures.
“In nature, biology has evolved sophisticated genetic circuits to do incredible things like self-organize into multicellular patterns, construct atomically-precise materials, and protect against sickness. However, genetic circuits aren’t harnessed in biotechnology today because engineering them is a technical challenge. Solving that problem would unlock advanced biotechnologies that seem like science fiction: intelligent therapeutics that sense and respond to disease, molecular assembly lines for biomanufacturing, and living materials that heal and adapt to their environment,” said Alec Nielsen, Ph.D., co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Asimov’s products are custom-built genetic circuits: DNA sequences that encode new cellular functions. Our circuits enable customers to create next-generation biotechnologies in health, manufacturing, and consumer goods. This seed funding allows us to quickly scale and partner with customers in diverse areas.”
Asimov’s software and genetics platform was originally developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University. Funded by the Office of Naval Research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research was published in Science, Nature Methods, and Nature Chemical Biology. The company’s industry-grade version of the platform combines state-of-the-art synthetic biology, biophysical simulations, and machine learning-based design.
The remarkable ability of biology to create patterns, perform specialized tasks, and adapt to changing environments is made possible with genetic circuits. The same way that electronic circuits are found everywhere - in cars, mobile phones, and smart refrigerators - engineered genetic circuits will also become ubiquitous in our lives. Asimov is developing industry-grade genetic circuits to enable applications such as living materials, intelligent cell therapeutics, and advanced molecular manufacturing.
“Asimov’s approach to engineering biology has transformative potential across many areas that touch and improve people’s lives. We are thrilled to partner with the Asimov team,” said Vijay Pande, Ph.D., general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “Just as semiconductor companies today depend on electronic design automation to build their chips, computer-aided design is playing an increasingly important role in bioengineering. We’ve reached an inflection point in terms of what can be reliably built. This has profound implications.”
ABOUT ASIMOV. Asimov empowers the creation of previously impossible biotechnologies. The company’s design platform enables them to precisely engineer genetic circuits for customers in diverse sectors. The company was founded by four biological engineering pioneers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Christopher Voigt, Boston University Professor Douglas Densmore, and MIT Biological Engineering Ph.D.s Alec Nielsen and Raja Srinivas. For more information visit www.asimov.io.