Blog | 19.02.2024

Unlocking the Future of Biotech: Investing in Proprietary Training Data for Protein Structure Applications

With the sector breaking new ground, how should VCs approach the investment thesis of a deep tech startup like FabricNano?

In the rapidly evolving landscape of biotechnology, one breakthrough has sent ripples through the scientific community, promising to revolutionize drug discovery and design: AlphaFold, an AI model developed by Google DeepMind. This powerful tool can predict protein structures with remarkable accuracy, offering invaluable insights into the intricate world of molecular biology.

However, while AlphaFold provides the structure, there’s still a crucial missing piece in the puzzle – understanding protein function. This is where a new wave of startups is stepping in, harnessing experimental biology to collect proprietary training data in sectors like antibody design, ligand binding and enzyme chemistry.

The AlphaFold Revolution: Structure Meets Function

AlphaFold’s ability to predict protein structures has opened doors to a wide range of applications – from drug discovery to understanding diseases at the molecular level. However, extracting the full potential from these predictions requires a deep understanding of protein function, which is often elusive without specialized data. This is where startups focusing on specific sectors under AlphaFold’s umbrella come into play, bridging the gap between structural predictions and functional insights.

Antibody Design: Pioneering New Avenues in Therapeutics

Antibodies are a cornerstone of modern medicine, with the potential to treat a wide array of diseases, including cancer and autoimmune disorders. Companies like Insitro and AbCellera are leveraging proprietary training data to design antibodies with enhanced specificity, efficacy, and safety profiles. By conducting bench experiments and carefully correlating structural predictions with functional outcomes, these startups are not only streamlining the drug development process but also creating a treasure trove of specialized data that contributes to the overall success of biotech ventures.

Ligand Binding: Revolutionizing Drug Discovery

The intricate dance between proteins and ligands is central to drug interactions. Charm Therapeutics and Isomorphic, a Google DeepMind spinoff, are leading the charge in collecting experimental data on ligand binding. Their efforts are enhancing our understanding of how molecules interact with the surface allostery of proteins, enabling more precise drug design and optimization. With every new datapoint, these startups are paving the way for novel therapeutics that were once beyond reach.

Enzyme Biochemistry: Unleashing the future of biocatalysis

Design of enzyme biocatalysts holds immense promise due to their widespread applications in industries ranging from agriculture to biofuels. By generating proprietary training data that combines AlphaFold’s structural insights with a deep understanding of how enzymes are formulated into biocatalyst products, startups like FabricNano are accelerating the development of sustainable and efficient enzyme-based biocatalysts solutions.

Each data point collected allows for learnable enzyme-based biocatalyst design with unparalleled efficiency, precision, and specificity of function in the harshest industrial environments. The proprietary training data is crucial to ushering in a sustainable future powered by enzymes.

Investment Thesis: Specialist training data under the protein structural models of DeepMind

Venture capitalists looking to make impactful investments should consider the immense value of proprietary training data in the protein structure realm. Startups operating in the sectors of antibody design, ligand binding and enzyme chemistry are not only expanding the horizons of scientific understanding — but creating valuable assets that can drive corporate growth and innovation.

As the global market for protein-related solutions continues to expand, the demand for specialized data will only intensify. Investing in companies like Insitro, AbCellera, Charm Therapeutics, Isomorphic and FabricNano means investing in the future of biotechnology — a future where AI-driven predictions and specialized experimental data harmoniously converge to unlock unprecedented opportunities.


Eliza Eddison

VP Operations

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