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