Asimov to Present Data on AI-Designed Tissue Specific Promoters at Upcoming Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT)
Best-in-class promoters exhibit better expression control than industry standards
Boston, MA – May 11, 2023 – Asimov, a synthetic biology company applying artificial intelligence (AI) to genetic design, announced today that it will deliver an oral presentation at the 26th annual meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) being held as an in-person meeting on May 16–20, 2023 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Asimov’s presentation, summarized below, debuts the company’s new technology for gene therapy, which is capable of computationally designing tunable, high performance tissue-specific promoters.
Oral presentation details
Title: Machine-Guided Design of Tissue-Specific Promoters
Presenter: D. Benjamin Gordon, Ph.D., Senior Director of Research, Asimov
Session: AAV Vector Genome Biology and Engineering I
Time: 3:45pm PST on Thursday, May 18, 2023
Abstract Number: 172
Asimov has developed a computational method that integrates multi-omics analysis and machine learning to design tissue-specific promoters for targeted expression of adeno-associated viral (AAV) gene therapies. This aims to reduce undesired off-target effects and tissue toxicity associated with ubiquitous promoters while providing gene therapy innovators with tunable expression control. In a mouse study, the designed promoters demonstrated greater dynamic range between on-target and off-target tissues compared to the industry-standard promoters. This demonstration highlights the potential of computational methods to enable precise expression of gene therapies, and is one of several computer-aided design technologies Asimov has developed for advanced therapeutic modalities.
Headquartered in Boston, Asimov’s mission is to advance humanity’s ability to design living systems, enabling biotechnologies with outsized societal benefit. The company is developing a synthetic biology platform – from cells to software – to design and manufacture next-generation therapeutics, including biologics, cell/gene therapies, and RNA through a combination of products, services, and collaborations. Founded by bioengineers from MIT and Boston University, the company has raised over $200 million from top institutional investors including Andreessen Horowitz, CPP Investments, Horizons Ventures, and Fidelity Management & Research Company. For more information, visit www.asimov.com.
Co-founder & CEO
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Asimov, the synthetic biology company building a full-stack platform to program living cells, announced today it has been awarded a contract as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Automating Scientific Knowledge Extraction (ASKE) opportunity.
Through ASKE, Asimov will work to develop a physics-based artificial intelligence (AI) design engine for biology. The goal of the initiative is to improve the reliability of programming complex cellular behaviors.
“To achieve truly predictive engineering of biology, we require dramatic advances in computer-aided design. Machine learning will be critical to bridge genome-scale experimental data with computational models that accurately capture the underlying biophysics. As genetically engineered systems grow in complexity, they become difficult for humans to design and understand. For simple genetic systems with only a couple of genes, synthetic biologists typically use high-throughput screening and basic optimization algorithms. But to engineer more complex applications in health, materials, and manufacturing, we need radically new algorithms to intelligently design the DNA and simulate cell behavior.”
Alec Nielsen, Phd, Asimov CEO
Asimov’s founders previously built a hybrid genetic engineering and computer-aided design platform called Cello to program logic circuit behaviors in cells. The ASKE opportunity will seek to support an ambitious expansion in the types of biological behaviors that can be engineered.
Asimov’s approach will leverage “multi-omics” cellular measurements, structured biological metadata, and novel AI architectures that combine deep learning, reinforcement learning, and mechanistic modeling. Over the past year, the company has ramped up hiring in experimental synthetic biology, machine learning, and data science to accelerate development of their genetic design platform.
DARPA recently announced a multi-year investment of $2B into innovative artificial intelligence research called the AI Next campaign. A part of this wide-ranging AI strategy is DARPA’s Artificial Intelligence Exploration program, which was developed to help expeditiously move pioneering AI research from idea to exploration in fewer than 90 days. DARPA’s ASKE opportunity is part of this program and is focused on developing AI technologies that can reason over rich models of complex systems.
“Over the past 50 years, DARPA has been a world leader in spurring innovation across the field of AI, including statistical-learning and rule-based approaches. We are proud to work with DARPA to advance the state-of-the-art in AI-assisted genetic engineering.”
Alec Nielsen, PhD, Asimov CEO