Creyon Bio hopes to develop pharmaceuticals “on demand” for patient groups ranging from one person with a rare disease to “millions” of patients with common ailments, and a $40 million series A funding round will help them get started. The new biotech is the latest to promote AI and machine learning as the future of medication research, attracting investors. Creyon goal is to develop oligonucleotide-based therapeutics using machine learning models that are “orders-of-magnitude more efficient” than traditional trial-and-error screening, according to the company’s announcement on Tuesday.
Oligonucleotides, or oligos, are single strands of synthesised RNA or DNA that are small in length. Two former Ionis Pharmaceuticals employees founded the San Diego biotech: Chris Hart, Ph.D., President and CEO, and Swagatam Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer According to his LinkedIn page, Hart was previously executive director of functional genomics at Ionis before starting Creyon in October 2019.
Chief Strategy Officer Nathan Billings, Ph.D., and Chief Technology Officer Monica McArthur, Ph.D., will join Hart and Mukhopadhyay. McArthur spent nearly nine years with Google, where she finished up as a senior staff software engineer. Billings previously worked as the director of intellectual property at Indigo, an agricultural technology business, and Billings previously worked as the director of intellectual property at Indigo.