Lumen Bioscience, a Seattle-based startup, is working with Google Make drugs with algae

Caitlin Gamble, head of informatics at Lumen Bioscience. (Lumen Photo)

Machine learning can help to increase the production of algal-based biologics. That’s the question new research from Seattle biotech startup Lumen Bioscience and Google aims to answer.

On Wednesday, the companies collaborated and published a paper that demonstrates how machine learning enabled them to double their spirulina-based production capacities.

Lumen said it also received a $2million grant from the Department of Energy to support the research. It is being led by Lumen’s head of informatics Caitlin Gamble and Drew Bryant (Google Accelerated Science Engineer), and supported in part by The Gates Foundation.

Jim Roberts, Lumen founder and co-founder of Lumen said that the combination of two innovative innovations — Google’s machine-learning and our spirulina based therapeutics production — has brought us closer to an optimized approach that can have a significant impact on global devastating diseases.

Roberts stated that this research paper was “the first to discuss the use of AI techniques in biologics manufacturing.”

Lumen is responsible for the production of proteins from algae. Spirulina is a small bioreactor that produces high levels of potential therapeutic proteins. This manufacturing process is much cheaper than industrial-scale facilities that can produce biologics from human cells.

Lumen raised a $16 million Series B round in September. The company also recently announced a joint project with the pharma company Novo Nordisk and an up to $14.5 million project with CARB-X, a nonprofit supporting the development of new antibacterials. Lumen also recently received a grant of nearly $4million from the U.S. Army for the development of a COVID-19 therapeutic.

CARBX supports the development of a spirulina tablet that can fight two types of diarrheal disease, Campylobacter Jejuni (enterotoxigenic E). E. coli. A phase 2 clinical trial is currently underway at the company, with support from part of Gates Foundation for diarrhea caused due to these bacterias, which are responsible each year for thousands of deaths in children around the world.

Lumen last month said it would expand its manufacturing operations to a former bakery in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.

Publiated at Wed 11 August 2021, 15:39.22 (+0000).

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