September 29, 2022
SAN MATEO, CA - September 29, 2022 – BigHat Biosciences announces that the company successfully maintains effective controls over the security, availability and confidentiality of data in Reccy, BigHat’s Laboratory Infrastructure Management System (LIMS), as per the System and Organization Controls (SOC2, type 2) examination and report. A SOC2 report is designed to assure existing or potential partners effective controls are in place to securely process sensitive information. The issued report indicated that BigHat successfully maintains effective controls over the security, availability and confidentiality of our platform.
“Our internal and partnered drug development programs rely on the quality of our integrated database of antibody sequences and biophysical and functional readouts”, according to Mark DePristo, BigHat’s Chief Executive Officer. "This SOC2 certification confirms our commitment to industry-leading data security and integrity controls."
“Our infrastructure, CICD and code review process have been built from the ground up on high quality, cloud-native best practices. We’re proud of how securely we’ve constructed our systems and the high service availability we have been able to guarantee. Getting through our SOC2 audit was a very streamlined process thanks to this. Kudos to our excellent SOC2 partners, Vanta and Barr, for providing great support every step of the way,” added Eddie Abrams, BigHat’s Vice President of Engineering.
The following principles and related criteria have been developed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) for use by practitioners in the performance of trust services engagements:
A SOC2 report is an internal control report on the services provided by a service organization to its customers and provides valuable information that existing and potential customers of the service organization need to assess and address the risks associated with an outsourced service. The SOC2 engagement was performed by BARR Advisory, P.A. in conjunction with Vanta, a SOC2 compliance automation solution.
July 20, 2022
Capital will advance BigHat’s internal pipeline of therapeutics to patients, expand platform capacity 10-fold, and accelerate strategic partnerships
SAN MATEO, CA, July 20, 2022 — BigHat Biosciences, a biotechnology company developing safer, more effective antibody therapies for patients using machine learning and synthetic biology, today announced it has raised a $75 million Series B funding round, led by Section 32, with participation from new investors Amgen Ventures, Bristol Myers Squibb, Quadrille Capital, Gaingels, GRIDS Capital, among others. The investment brings BigHat’s total funding to date to $100 million. Prior investors Andreessen Horowitz, 8VC, and AME Cloud Ventures also contributed to this round, which will be used to scale the capacity of MillinerTM, an integrated AI/ML- wet lab platform, advance therapeutic programs toward human clinical trials, aggressively hire drug discovery and development talent and to accelerate strategic collaborations with flagship partners.
More than 200 antibodies and other biotherapeutics are approved today as part of a global biologics market expected to grow to $421 billion by 2025. Next-generation antibody therapies promise improved safety and efficacy for patients. Developing these advanced molecules can be difficult, costly, and slow with conventional techniques. BigHat’s AI-enabled antibody design platform, Milliner, offers the essential technologies to quickly and reliably create these breakthrough therapies.
BigHat is using MillinerTM to design safer, more effective antibody therapies to treat some of the world’s most intractable conditions, from chronic illnesses to life-threatening diseases. At BigHat, every therapeutic program starts with a design blueprint and antibodies generated in our discovery engine or supplied by a partner. These initial molecules are then iteratively transformed into best-in-class next-generation therapies on the Milliner platform through sequential design-build-test cycles. BigHat’s machine learning models design hundreds of variants that are built and tested in our lab using the latest synthetic biology technologies in each cycle. These measurements include biophysical properties and impact on disease activity for every variant using cell-based or other functional assays that replicate in vivo disease processes. This new data is used to update the AI/ML models so that over multiple cycles, these models learn to create antibodies that match our design blueprint.
“BigHat is ushering the next wave of personalized medicines with a sophisticated AI platform integrated with a next-generation lab that addresses the complexities and inefficiencies associated with biologics discovery,” said Steve Kafka, PhD, Managing Partner of Section 32 and newly-appointed BigHat Board Member. “Section 32 is delighted to support BigHat’s mission and their quest to rapidly deliver safer and more effective antibody therapies for people suffering from today’s most challenging diseases.” Longtime Alphabet executive and Section 32 Managing Partner, Andy Harrison, co-led this Series B financing and will join as a Board Observer.
”Completion of the first stage of Amgen’s research collaboration with BigHat demonstrated the ability of their platform to quickly and significantly optimize next-generation single-domain antibodies, validating the platform as a path to generating target binders with improved properties compared with the original repertoire identified by traditional technologies,” said Philip Tagari, VP of Research at Amgen. “We’re excited to participate in the funding round to assist in the continued development and deployment of BigHat’s approach.”
The company was founded in 2019 by CEO Mark DePristo, a University of Cambridge biochemistry Ph.D., former Head of Genomics for Google.AI, and Co-director of Medical Genetics at Broad Institute, with CSO Peyton Greenside, a Stanford biomedical informatics Ph.D. and 2018 Schmidt Science Fellow. Since that time, BigHat has reached significant business and scientific milestones, including:
● Fit-for-purpose High Speed Wet Lab: scaled capacity of BigHat’s MillinerTM platform ten-fold since the Series A raise to design, synthesize, and characterize over four hundred antibodies weekly. In March 2022, BigHat acquired Frugi Biotechnology to integrate customized cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) technology into its platform. Additionally, mammalian cell line capabilities and functional assays were incorporated.
● Internal Pipeline: five discovery programs spanning oncology, inflammation and infectious disease are underway, leveraging the platform to design ultra high-quality next-generation antibodies.
● Partner Collaboration: in January, BigHat completed the first stage of a research collaboration with Amgen. BigHat is leveraging a synergistic partnering strategy focused on difficult antibody design challenges.
● Leadership + Board Growth: in March 2022, serial entrepreneur Rob Chess was added to BigHat’s Board of Directors, augmenting the company’s drug discovery and development expertise. In 2021, Elizabeth Schwarzbach, a University of Pennsylvania pharmacology PhD with over 20 years of pharma, biotech, and academic drug discovery and development experience, joined as CBO.
● Talent & Expansion: currently the company has 37 employees and moved into a dedicated lab and office space in San Mateo, CA. Team size is expected to double in the next 12-18 months.
● AI/ML technology: recent work developing active learning methodologies in collaboration with NYU was published in a paper titled, “Effective Surrogate Models for Protein Design with Bayesian Optimization,” and accepted to the 2022 International Conference for Machine Learning (ICML). BigHat developed numerous proprietary training data sets and deployed both generative and active learning models.
● Investment and Grants: in addition to its $5 million seed and $19 million Series A rounds, BigHat was awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The company received Amgen’s 2021 Golden Ticket to MBC BioLabs, was named to Business Insider’s 24 top biotech companies list, awarded the UCSF Health Award and named Therapeutics Innovation of the Year by the BioTech Breakthrough Awards.
“The scale and flexibility of the BigHat platform allows us to partner with companies anywhere along the therapeutic discovery continuum as well as pursue internal therapeutics programs to address major unmet needs across a variety of diseases,” said BigHat co-founder and CEO Mark DePristo. “Combining internal programs and partnerships enables us to bring as many assets to market as quickly as possible. All while capturing a wealth of data to continuously improve our AI/ML models and wet lab techniques, making future campaigns faster and better. The BigHat team is excited and ready to put this Series B funding to excellent use.”
June 23, 2022
We are delighted to share a recording of BigHat’s co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Peyton Greenside and VP, Engineering Ed Abrams invited talk at the AWS Summit San Francisco 2022 entitled “Tech-driven synthetic biology: Building a cloud-first modern lab”. In this talk, Ed and Peyton dive into the core mission at BigHat, implementation of our sophisticated software infrastructure and how it is helping build our cloud-first advanced next-generation lab to develop safer and more effective treatments for patients suffering from today’s most challenging diseases.
May 11, 2022
SAN MATEO--BigHat Biosciences, a biotechnology company designing safer, more effective next-generation antibody therapies for patients using machine learning and synthetic biology, today announced that Rob Chess has been elected to BigHat’s board of directors. Rob brings valuable experience in corporate biotech leadership and business strategy, from having led innovative and diverse teams from inception to successful exits to serving on the boards of multiple private and public life sciences companies.
"We look forward to leveraging Rob's deep expertise in drug discovery and development to accelerate our work creating better antibody therapies for patients," said Mark DePristo, PhD., BigHat’s CEO and co-founder.
Rob Chess is the former CEO and current Chairman of Nektar Therapeutics, (NASDAQ:NKTR), a health care biotechnology company; serves as lead director of Twist Biosciences (NASDAQ:TWST), a leading company in the field of synthetic biology; and lectures at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Previously, Rob co-founded Biota Technologies, a pioneer of DNA sequencing for energy and industrial applications, Penederm, a dermatology company acquired by Mylan Laboratories; was the first CEO of OPX Biotechnologies, a renewable chemicals company sold to Cargill.
“BigHat’s trajectory has been exceptional and I’m pleased to be joining the company at such an important time,” said Rob Chess. “BigHat has built a uniquely integrated AI/ML wet lab platform and is now positioned to efficiently advance its pipeline of protein therapeutics to patients. I’m looking forward to working with the company to apply this platform to the highest value opportunities and catalyzing the impact we will have for patients.”
March 28, 2022
Acquisition to accelerate scaling of BigHat’s AI/ML-enabled drug discovery platform
SAN MATEO--BigHat Biosciences, Inc., a biotechnology company developing safer, more effective next-generation antibody therapies for patients using machine learning and synthetic biology, today announced the acquisition of Frugi Biotechnology, a biotechnology company developing cost-effective and high-quality cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS) technology. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
BigHat plans to integrate this CFPS technology into its novel AI/ML-enabled drug discovery platform to allow BigHat to rapidly scale to meet the growing demands for its platform from partners and for internal therapeutic programs. With this acquisition, BigHat brings in-house a reliable supply of one key input to BigHat’s drug discovery platform.
"Cell-free protein synthesis is a foundational technology for BigHat's platform, allowing us to rapidly synthesize and test antibodies in a matter of days. We are excited to join forces with the incredible team at Frugi to further develop our cell-free synthesis capabilities" said Peyton Greenside, BigHat’s CSO and co-founder.
Frugi Biotechnology’s proprietary, and scalable CFPS technology will facilitate further research to improve CFPS for antibody production. Adam Carr, Frugi’s co-founder and VP of technology, will join BigHat and continue developing and integrating this technology into BigHat’s platform.
“We have been enthusiastically watching the progress of BigHat from their launch, and see tremendous potential in the platform they are building; we are honored to join such a world-class team,” said Dr. Nigel Reuel Associate professor at Iowa State University, co-founder and CEO at Frugi Biotechnology.
March 8, 2022
Rob Chess is a serial entrepreneur in the life sciences field and is currently the Chairman of Nektar Therapeutics, (NASDAQ:NKTR), as well as the Lead Director of Twist Biosciences (NASDAQ:TWST) and a lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. His previous experience includes Cofounder and President of Penederm (Acq. by Mylan Laboratories), start-up CEO and Chairman of OPX Biotechnologies (Acq. by Cargill), Co-founder and Chairman of Biota Technologies. Rob also served as a White House Fellow and Associate Director of the White House Office of Economic and Domestic Policy. In addition to his entrepreneurial endeavors and activities at the Stanford GSB, Rob is a trustee of Caltech and Chairman of the Caltech Board Technology Transfer Committee, and on the boards of Bio Ventures for Global Health. He previously served on the Biotechnology Industry Organization where he was the chairman of the Emerging Companies Section and co-chairman of the Intellectual Property Committee. Rob received a BS in engineering from Caltech and an MBA from Harvard.
Mark Pegram, MD, is the Suzy Yuan-Huey Hung Endowed Professor of Medical Oncology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He currently serves as the Associate Director of Clinical Research at the Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Institute (SCCI). He also serves as the Associate Dean for Clinical Research Quality at the Stanford University School of Medicine, and is the Medical Director of the Stanford Clinical Translational Research Unit – a unit specializing in first-in-human phase I clinical trials. Previously, he also served as the Co-Director of the Translational Oncology Research Program as well as the Director of the Breast Oncology Program at the Stanford Cancer Institute. He has authored more than 150 publications in medical oncology, hematology, and biosimilars across different cancer types. Dr. Pegram received his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed his residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He concluded his training with a fellowship at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.
Michael Jewett is the Walter P. Murphy Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Director of the Center for Synthetic Biology at Northwestern University. He is the recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, David and Lucille Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, and a Camille-Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, among others. He is the co-founder of SwiftScale Biologics (Acq. by Resilience), Stemloop Inc., and Design Pharmaceuticals, among others, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of Tierra Biosciences. Dr. Jewett is a Fellow of AIMBE, and AAAS, and previously was a guest professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). Amongst his many honors, he was the 2018 Co-Chair of both the Genome Engineering for Materials Synthesis for DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research and Future Directions Workshop on Synthetic Biology for Energy/Power, for the Office of Secretary of Defense’s Basic Research Office in partnership with the UK Ministry of Defense. Dr. Jewett received his PhD in 2005 from Stanford University, completed postdoctoral studies at the Center for Microbial Biotechnology in Denmark and the Harvard University Medical School.
We are extremely delighted and honored to have such distinguished luminaries in the field on our advisory board and look forward to their guidance and experience in helping us advance our mission of developing next-generation therapeutics.
March 1, 2022
BigHat’s co-founders, CEO, Mark DePristo and CSO, Peyton Greenside spoke with David Alvaro, Scientific Editor in Chief of the Pharma’s Almanac. In this discussion, Mark and Peyton dive into the problems that BigHat is solving, agnostic vs empirical approach of designing sophisticated next generation antibodies, determining end points in optimization projects, the future direction of BigHat’s molecular engineering capabilities, and our research collaboration with Amgen.
February 23, 2022
BigHat’s founders, CEO, Mark DePristo and CSO, Peyton Greenside were on the BIOS builders podcast hosted by Chris Ghadban from Alix Ventures. In this podcast, Mark and Peyton dive into a wide array of topics including the impetus behind founding BigHat, the challenges and opportunities of next generation antibodies, their role in fighting against today’s challenging diseases, BigHat’s unique platform that brings together synthetic biology, machine learning and automation and how BigHat is shifting drug discovery from ‘discovery’ to engineering.
January 13, 2022
BigHat’s CSO, Peyton Greenside, gave her invited talk, Radically improving the design of next generation antibodies, at the 2021 Antibody Engineering and Therapeutics conference. Peyton shared her insights into BigHat’s unique iterative approach to designing high quality antibodies using our proprietary platform that integrates novel synthetic biology techniques with AI/ML methods. In her talk she walked through several recent case studies demonstrating applications of the BigHat platform to design better therapeutic antibodies.
January 11, 2022
BigHat’s AI-enabled experimental platform speeds the antibody engineering process to advance design and development of novel protein therapeutics
SAN MATEO, CA, January 11, 2022 - BigHat Biosciences, Inc., a biotechnology company with an artificial intelligence/machine learning - guided antibody discovery and development platform, today announced the successful completion of the first stage of a previously undisclosed research collaboration and licensing agreement with Amgen applying BigHat’s platform for multi-objective optimization of a next-generation antibody.
BigHat’s antibody design platform integrates a high-speed characterization with AI/ML technologies to engineer antibodies with more complex functions and better biophysical properties. This approach reduces the difficulty of designing antibodies and other therapeutic proteins to tackle conditions ranging from chronic illness to life-threatening disease. BigHat’s experimental platform massively speeds up candidate discovery and validation.
“This is an important milestone for BigHat, and the AI/ML biologics drug discovery field more broadly, as it demonstrates the ability of their platform to quickly and significantly optimize next-generation antibodies,” said Steve Doberstein, BigHat Independent Board Member and former Chief R&D Officer at Nektar Therapeutics, Inc.
Achievement of this first milestone shows that BigHat’s platform has the potential to effectively and efficiently design high-quality therapeutic antibodies. Its platform can synthesize, express, purify, and characterize antibodies in a fraction of the time compared to traditional labs to guide the search for better molecules.
“BigHat's platform for data-driven antibody design generated several antibodies significantly better than the starter molecules found using traditional technologies,” added Vineeta Agarwala, MD, PhD, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz and BigHat Board Director. “Now that Amgen has validated the capabilities of BigHat's unique approach to antibody development, we're excited to continue working with them towards a lead antibody for their discovery research.”
This successful milestone triggers the initiation of work to create a lead panel of VHH antibodies for patients in need. “We are excited to show the power of our platform to rapidly improve biophysical characteristics and function by directing and learning from each cycle of our AI/ML-enabled experimental platform. We are looking forward to continuing our productive collaboration” said Peyton Greenside, BigHat’s CSO and co-founder.
December 22, 2021
We recognize that BigHat's 2021 accomplishments would not be possible without the expertise and hard work of our uniquely talented team, advisors, partners, and investors.
It is with joy that we express gratitude for all that each of you do.
To help promote a balanced work environment, all of BigHat Biosciences is closed for the holidays, and we will be back online on Monday, January 3rd 2022.
Wishing you a healthy and happy new year,
The BigHat Team
November 30, 2021
BigHat is making big moves! After a productive two years at MBC Biolabs in San Carlos, CA we are moving into our very own, brand-new, 15,000 sq ft Class A life science research space in San Mateo, CA in the center of the Bay Area life sciences cluster. Our dedicated facility will allow us to further accelerate our growth and realize our mission to improve human health by designing sophisticated next-generation antibody therapeutics.
Our new facility includes a large, modular state-of-the art laboratory and sleek office space with beautiful views of the bay and mountains. It offers superb amenities from a well-equipped Fitness Center, a Yoga Studio, Shower/Locker Rooms, and a Game Room for our employees to foster community, collaboration, and social interaction. To support BigHat’s family-friendly culture, the new facility provides a wellness room for nursing mothers or a quiet place for meditation or relaxation.
Founded in late 2019, BigHat has rapidly outgrown its humble beginnings with two chairs and one bench in the MBC Biolabs incubator. The BigHat team has more than tripled in size since closing our Series A in Jan 2021. At the same time, we have validated our AI/ML-high speed wet lab platform to design, synthesize, and characterize high-quality protein therapeutics across a variety of modalities and indications. The extra space and modular layout at our new facility will allow us to scale our platform capacity to thousands of antibody designs each week using heterogeneous robotic arrays and our proprietary, end-to-end integrated LIMS.
We’re excited for this next phase of growth as we pursue even more biotherapeutics even faster.
Come visit us in San Mateo, CA to see next-generation antibody drug discovery in action!
October 27, 2021
SAN CARLOS, Calif., October 27, 2021 – BigHat Biosciences, a novel protein therapeutics company and developer of an AI-guided antibody design platform, today announced it has been selected as winner of the “Therapeutics Innovation of the Year” award in the inaugural BioTech Breakthrough Awards program conducted by BioTech Breakthrough, a leading independent market intelligence organization that evaluates and recognizes standout life sciences and biotechnology companies around the globe.
“We are honored to receive this recognition in the inaugural BioTech Breakthrough Awards, which will help us pursue our mission to improve human health by making it far easier to design advanced, next-generation antibody therapeutics,” said Dr. Mark DePristo, PhD, Co-founder and CEO of BigHat. “Our robust and flexible platform gives us the ability to partner with companies anywhere along the therapeutic development continuum as well as drive internal programs to address major unmet needs across a variety of indications. All of this enables us to capture a wealth of data to continuously improve our AI/ML models and wet lab techniques.”
The mission of the annual BioTech Breakthrough Awards program is to conduct the industry’s most comprehensive analysis and evaluation of the top technology companies, solutions and products in the life sciences and biotechnology industry today. This year’s program attracted more than 1,200 nominations from over 12 different countries throughout the world.
“Biologics represented eight of the ten top selling drugs in 2019 due to their transformative treatment to some of our most intractable diseases such as cancer and immunological disorders. There has been increasing excitement to develop novel approaches to antibody therapeutic design that can overcome the limitations of the traditional monoclonal antibodies and older technologies,” said Bryan Vaughn, Managing Director of BioTech Breakthrough Awards. “BigHat has become a leader among companies applying AI to design therapeutic antibodies. Along with Dr. DePristo, an AI expert in bioinformatics, BigHat has assembled a world-class team of protein engineers, computer scientists, software engineers, AI/ML experts and executives. Congratulations on being our choice for the ‘Therapeutics Innovation of the Year’ award.”
About BioTech Breakthrough
Part of Tech Breakthrough, a leading market intelligence and recognition platform for global technology innovation and leadership, the BioTech Breakthrough Awards program is devoted to honoring excellence in life science and biotechnology solutions, services and companies. The BioTech Breakthrough Awards provide public recognition for the achievements of biotechnology companies and products in categories including BioPharma, Genomics, Therapeutics, Food Science and BioAgriculture, and more. For more information visit BioTechBreakthroughawards.com
October 12, 2021
BigHat is humbled to accept the 2021 UCSF Health Awards in the New Life Sciences Tool category! The UCSF Health Awards recognizes the achievements of innovative health tech companies that are dramatically improving healthcare through the use of technology in digital health and life sciences categories and we were selected among a pool of great companies by a panel of expert judges. We are tremendously proud of our team and what we have been able to accomplish so far.
We are grateful for this recognition; thank you UCSF Health Awards!
Read more: https://ucsfhealthhub.com/awards/home
August 18, 2021
BigHat’s CSO, Peyton Greenside, was on the Moneyball Medicine podcast hosted by Harry Glorikian in an episode discussing the Legacy of Stanford’s Biomedical Informatics Program. In this interview podcast, Peyton joined co-founders of Aria Pharmaceuticals and Inflammatix to discuss the role of data and computation in advancing healthcare and therapeutics. Peyton shared her insights into BigHat’s unique iterative approach to designing high quality antibodies using our proprietary platform that integrates novel synthetic biology techniques with AI/ML methods.
To listen to full podcast: https://glorikian.com/the-legacy-of-stanfords-biomedical-informatics-program/
August 17, 2021
BigHat was spotlighted by Pinpoint, our third-party recruiting platform, as an exemplar for fast, efficient, and transparent recruiting. The case study highlights BigHat’s relentless focus on providing a best-in-class experience, a mission-critical factor in attracting skilled candidates. BigHat’s VP of Engineering, Ed Abrams, further emphasized the importance of having a highly-automated, data-driven and centralized workflow to seamlessly manage candidate lifecycles to effectively recruit in today's highly competitive environment while growing as quickly as BigHat.
Read more: https://www.pinpointhq.com/case-studies/bighat-biosciences-is-accelerating-therapeutic-development-by-fast-capturing-skilled-candidates/
August 12, 2021
BigHat’s VP of Engineering, Ed Abrams was on the panel of AWS’s four-week CTO Fellowship for healthcare and life sciences early-stage startups last week. The first week kicked off with the panel discussing “Hiring and Recruiting Engineers'’ from late-stage CTOs and technical co-founders. In this panel discussion, Ed shared his advice into hiring, retention and leading engineering teams through his experience as a technical leader to a cohort of over 75 participating seed-stage CTOs in attendance.
August 3, 2021
BigHat is thrilled to be recognized as one of 24 biotech startups poised to take off in the next year, according to some of the smartest and most plugged-in venture capitalists in biotech. From last year’s 21 biotechs named to the Business Insider’s list, five have gone public, two were either acquired or merged and two are planning to go public, while several others have raised nine-figure financing rounds this year. We are proud to be named among so many great companies. Thank you Vineeta Agarwala for the pick and your continued support.
July 29, 2021
BigHat is delighted to welcome Amol Pawar to the BigHat advisory team! Amol is a healthcare finance executive with over 15 years of experience in defining and executing business strategy. Currently he is the Head of Corporate Development at Zentalis Pharmaceuticals. Prior to Zentalis, Amol was an investment banker at PJT Partners and Deutsche Bank with additional time in equity research covering SMID-cap biotech companies at Stifel. He has also spent time at healthcare startup companies in the fields of neurology and high throughput histopathology. Amol holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar, an MS (Chemistry) and BA (Biochemistry) from the University of Pennsylvania as a Vagelos Scholar.
Read more at https://www.bighatbio.com/about/
July 28, 2021
BigHat Biosciences publishes its first peer-reviewed article, Effective Surrogate Models for Protein Design with Bayesian Optimization at the prestigious International Conference for Machine Learning (ICML) Workshop on Computational Biology (WCB). The ICML WCB will highlight how machine learning approaches can be tailored to making both translational and basic scientific discoveries with biological data. This year’s WCB showcases pioneers at the intersection of computation, machine learning, and biology, working with large complex datasets and using new methods to interpret these collections of high-dimensional biological data to aid in drug discovery.
Specifically, BigHat researchers collaborated with advisor and Bayesian deep learning expert, Andrew Gordon Wilson of NYU [Scholar, ICML 2020 Tutorial], to develop a framework for protein design that requires only a small amount of labeled data. The real-world utility of these methods were demonstrated by optimizing the Stokes shift of green fluorescent protein (GFP). This paper serves as the first public illustration of how BigHat leverages its rapid design/build/test platform for data-driven antibody discovery and engineering.
June 29, 2021
The Silicon Valley Business Journal has named Dr. Peyton Greenside, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of BigHat Biosciences, as one of 2021’s Women of Influence in Silicon Valley. The entire list was unveiled in the June 18, 2021, issue of the Business Journal. Peyton Greenside will also be celebrated during a special SVBJ virtual event on June 30.
For more than a decade, the Silicon Valley Business Journal has been celebrating the accomplishments and impact that women have had on business and the community throughout the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area as well the Monterey Bay region. The outstanding women chosen to be honored each year represent a cross-section of entities in the region, including public corporations, private companies, nonprofits and local governments.
“This year’s Women of Influence class is the most diverse we’ve ever had, which is a reflection both of the dynamic diversity in Silicon Valley as well as the rise of women from all backgrounds into greater positions of leadership,” said J. Jennings Moss, SVBJ’s editor-in-chief and general manager. “This is truly an impressive, inspiring and, yes, influential group of professionals.”
“I’m honored to receive this award and join the company of many incredible women in Silicon Valley. I'm also delighted that our work at BigHat is recognized by SVBJ as we continue to make progress in developing new generations of safer and more effective treatments for patients suffering from today’s most challenging diseases."
June 17, 2021
We're delighted to announce that Amazon Web Services featured BigHat Biosciences in their DevOps blog as an exemplar for software infrastructure and automation in the cloud. AWS highlighted how our CI/CD strategies for data engineering pipelines and training ML models enable us to scale our platform rapidly and seamlessly. For BigHat this helps us advance our mission to deliver best-in-class therapeutics faster.
April 8, 2021
BigHat founder Mark DePristo spoke about “Antibody design using synthetic biology and machine learning at BigHat Biosciences” at SMI’s AI in Drug Discovery 2021 conference. Topics covered:
March 22, 2021
BigHat founders Peyton Greenside and Mark DePristo joined Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) partners Vineeta Agarwala, Jorge Conde, Vijay Pande, and Julie Yoo on their recurring It’s Time to Heal Clubhouse. The discussion covered the growing role of computation and machine learning in drug development, specifically biologics. And of course a window into the founding story of BigHat Biosciences from Mark and Peyton.
You can listen to the recording here.
March 16, 2021
BigHat Biosciences Chief Business Officer, Liz Schwarzbach, hosted a Roundtable Discussion today during the WuXi Healthcare Forum 2021 discussing the key opportunities to apply AI/ML-enabled antibody design. The group dove into what these key unmet needs are across the therapeutic landscape and what is needed to demonstrate proof of concept for each application.
March 1, 2021
BigHat’s CSO, Peyton Greenside, joined Professor Ron Dror at the Stanford Computer Science AI Salon to discuss the future of machine learning and computational biology. The AI Salon provides a forum to think beyond day-to-day research and think about how AI research fits into the "long-term trajectory of scientific progress."
Beyond her opening remarks about ML and biology, Dr. Greenside highlighted:
February 10, 2021
Andreessen Horowitz-led investment fuels hiring and R&D for AI-enabled experimental platform that speeds the antibody engineering process
SAN CARLOS, CA, February 10, 2021 — BigHat Biosciences, a novel protein therapeutics company and developer of an AI-guided antibody design platform, today announced it has raised $19 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from prior investors 8VC, AME Cloud Ventures, and Innovation Endeavors. As part of the investment, Andreessen Horowitz General Partner, Vineeta Agarwala, MD, PhD joins BigHat’s Board of Directors.
Biologics represent a rapidly growing therapeutic category. As of 2019, seven of the top ten drugs were biologics and there are currently more than 200 biotherapeutics in use, generating more than $100 billion in annual revenue for drug companies developing treatments for indications ranging from oncology to auto-immunity to infectious disease.
“Our mission is to improve human health by making it far easier to create advanced, next-generation antibody and protein therapeutics. BigHat is transforming antibody design from bulk screening to data-driven engineering to give precise control over the antibodies’ molecular properties. Leveraging recent advances in synthetic biology and machine learning, our platform measures and optimizes antibodies for the biophysical and functional properties needed for cutting-edge therapeutic applications,” said BigHat Co-founder and CEO Mark DePristo, PhD.
BigHat integrates a wet lab for high-speed characterization with machine learning technologies to guide the search for better antibodies. This approach dramatically speeds up design and discovery data acquisition cycles to days rather than weeks or months. It also provides greater optionality, eliminating the need for premature candidate selection and enabling the simultaneous measurement of a vast array of key biophysical properties of many molecules.
“There are very few biologic applications in which you can pose a hypothesis and have real, experimentally validated answers in days. BigHat’s molecular engineering methods allow us to optimize antibodies for affinity, stability, solubility, and even performance in a functional assay,” added BigHat Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) Peyton Greenside, PhD. “We’ve just started to explore the potential for novel antibody and protein therapeutics enabled by BigHat’s approach to discovery.”
Supercharged Antibody Development
Existing technologies only solve a sliver of the full design problem and traditional lab workflows take weeks-to-months to produce a protein variant and characterize its behavior. BigHat’s experimental platform reduces the time to enter clinical development by accelerating candidate discovery and validation.
“The relevant search space for protein therapeutics is orders of magnitude larger than a purely experimental approach anchored in naturally-occurring sequences can efficiently traverse,” said Vineeta Agarwala, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “This is why we believe BigHat’s platform, which combines machine learning, synthetic biology, and high-throughput experimentation, holds tremendous promise.”
Founded in late 2019, BigHat has experienced rapid growth during its proof-of-concept stage, reaching significant corporate and scientific milestones in its first 15 months. BigHat’s wet lab is actively producing and characterizing antibodies at scale. The cloud-based AI/ML platform improves designs each round by combining active learning with assay modeling of critical biophysical properties leading to the highest quality sequences. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, BigHat validated this platform by engineering a potent neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 bispecific antibody in the lab.
Following this platform demonstration, in late 2020, BigHat was awarded Amgen’s Golden Ticket to MBC BioLabs, which entitles them to lab bench space as well as access to the life sciences incubator community and Amgen’s scientific and business leaders. The company was also awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for improving protein production from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). BigHat is collaborating with multiple strategic partners to leverage the platform to co-develop antibodies and other biotherapeutics.
The new capital will be used to expand the BigHat scientific and technical teams; the company is actively hiring exceptional antibody and protein engineers, AI/ML engineers, and computational biologists. Additionally, the funding will support further platform development, scaling capacity and advancement of BigHat’s own internal therapeutic programs towards human clinical trials.
“BigHat is applying AI in a dramatically different way than most life sciences startups. AI is by its nature iterative and so is drug development, but in a traditional lab you have long wait times between generations of data as discovery is done and redone. In BigHat’s wet lab, the platform increases throughput, speeds the feedback loop and really eliminates some of the cost and time barriers standing in the way of optimizing protein therapeutics,” said Francisco Gimenez, Partner at 8VC.
Founding Team and Advisory Board
The company was founded by CEO Mark DePristo, PhD, University of Cambridge, and CSO Peyton Greenside, PhD, Stanford, along with founding advisor Theresa Tribble, a Harvard University MBA and former Chief Business Officer (CBO) for Everlywell. Liz Schwarzbach, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, recently joined as CBO.
BigHat has assembled a world-class group of technical and business advisors. Scientific and business leaders advising the company span chemistry luminaries (Brian Kobilka, Nobel Laureate), AI and deep learning experts (Jake Gardner and Andrew Gordon Wilson), life sciences entrepreneurs (Stan Lapidus) and biologics drug discovery leaders (Greg Landes), among others.
December 14, 2020
BigHat is delighted to welcome Steve Doberstein to the BigHat advisory team! Steve is an expert in protein engineering with over 20 years of experience in the design and development of antibody, cytokine, and fusion protein drugs. Steve joins us most recently from Nektar Therapeutics where he was Chief R&D Officer and Chief Scientist for ten years and led all aspects of discovery research. Before that he was VP Research at innovative antibody developers XOMA, Five Prime Therapeutics, and Xencor where he played a pivotal role in bringing multiple product candidates through to IND in diabetes, oncology, autoimmune diseases. Steve holds a PhD in Cell Biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and did his postdoctoral training at UC Berkeley. Steve sits on the Board of Directors of Dicerna, and the Biotechnology Advisory Board of the University of Delaware.
Read more at the BigHat team at https://www.bighatbio.com/about.
November 18, 2020
October 1, 2020
BigHat Biosciences received a Phase I SBIR award from NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) to apply its AI-driven platform to rapidly identify high-yield expression vectors for therapeutic antibody production.
BigHat’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Peyton Greenside, noted, “We are honored that NIST sees the potential for our approach. This Phase I study will demonstrate that BigHat’s platform can design novel and improved DNA templates by querying only a tiny fraction of candidate sequences in a massive search space.”
The Phase I SBIR grant aims to increase protein production by jointly optimizing a 30 base pair DNA sequence involving the expression cassette and start of the protein coding sequence through tight coupling of computational and experimental evaluation on the BigHat platform. Sequences longer than ~10 base pairs have been historically intractable to search effectively because the search space is simply too large for comprehensive experimental exploration.
“We started BigHat Biosciences because we believe that AI/ML-powered molecular engineering will allow us to design biotherapeutics inaccessible to traditional approaches,” shared CEO Mark DePristo, PhD. “Our work with NIST will help BigHat benchmark and further improve our technologies for data-driven antibody design.
About BigHat Biosciences
BigHat Biosciences is an early-stage Bay Area startup reimagining antibody discovery and engineering to create better antibodies faster and undertake novel designs far beyond what's possible today. BigHat designs antibodies using an agile, multi-objective, and data-driven platform that integrates a high-speed wet lab with AI and machine learning. Founded in 2019, BigHat Biosciences counts among its founders, employees, and advisors world-leading experts in machine learning and artificial intelligence, computational biology, software engineering, and drug development. BigHat’s investors include 8VC, AME Cloud Ventures, and Innovation Endeavors. Learn more at www.bighatbio.com.
NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit NIST.gov.
September 15, 2020
Amgen and MBC BioLabs announced today that BigHat Biosciences has been awarded a 2020 Amgen Golden Ticket to MBC BioLabs.
BigHat was chosen by a team of scientific leaders who evaluated the strength and novelty of our scientific rationale, subject matter expertise, and business plan viability.
Flavius Martin, vice president of Oncology, Inflammation and Site Head at Amgen South San Francisco, said "BigHat Biosciences [...] is working on promising early-stage innovation that address serious illnesses such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, and others [...] We are happy to support their scientific efforts as they tackle complex research challenges that potentially address critical unmet medical needs for patients. Congratulations to both companies and their scientific entrepreneurs.”
BigHat will use Amgen's support for our facility at MBC BioLabs and access to their biologics R&D group to help accelerate its mission to radically improve antibody design using the latest techniques in machine learning and synthetic biology.
BigHat joins Golden Ticket winners Trilo Therapeutics (2020), Regencor and Nitrome Biosciences (2019), Delve Therapeutics and Mitokinin (2018), Darmiyan and Enable Biosciences (2017), and Mission Bio and SiteOne Therapeutics.
August 12, 2020
BigHat co-founder Peyton Greenside joins a panel discussion, along other leaders from Silicon Valley Bank, Civilization Ventures, Pivotal Bioventure Partners, BioRock Ventures, to discuss: Is this The Lost Year for Startups, or the Year of Greatest Opportunity?
2020 has brought renewed focus to the promise of biotech and the ability of novel therapeutics to meet society's urgent needs. It has also highlighted the current limits of science, the fragility of our health care system, and the long process from R&D to market for new drugs. What does this all mean for you and your startup, and how will you thrive amidst the uncertainty? Our expert VC/CEO panelists weigh in with concrete advice and stories from the trenches.
July 18, 2020
BigHat founder Peyton Greenside and BigHat consultant Vivek Myers presented their work A Hierarchical Approach to Scaling Batch Active Search Over Structured Data at the ICML Workshop on Real World Experiment Design and Active Learning. The method enables efficient, large-batch search over a structured set of protein or DNA sequences by combining deep representation learning with a hierarchical search strategy. It balances broad exploration over unobserved sequence space with more greedy local search where promising sequences have been identified. These innovations were possible by taking advantage of the natural emergent structure in a large corpus of related biological sequences to help guide experimental design in a high-throughput setting.
June 9, 2020
BigHat founder and CEO Mark DePristo spoke at the European Society for Human Genetics 2020 Conference. Watch the talk A Guide to Deep Learning in Healthcare on BigHat's YouTube channel or review just the slides.
April 30, 2020
BigHat founder Peyton Greenside joins Insitro team member to lead working session with Stanford's Accel Innovation Scholars on building and leading interdisciplinary teams.
December 4, 2019
BigHat founder Peyton Greenside helps select the best poster at the Cell Free Systems Conference in Boston, MA.
November 11, 2019
BigHat founder Peyton Greenside moderates Innovation Endeavors' Deep Life Salon panel between biotech founders and pharmaceutical partners from Novozymes and Novo Nordisk on commercializing research.
October 30, 2019