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Primeur weekly 2019-03-11

Focus

Interview with EuroHPC JU interim executive director Gustav Kalbe ...

Quantum computing

9,1 million euro for trinational quantum research ...

IBM achieves highest quantum volume to date and establishes roadmap for reaching quantum advantage ...

Microsoft Quantum Team is announcing the Microsoft Quantum Network ...

Los Alamos National Laboratory upgrades to D-Wave 2000Q quantum computer ...

New hurdle cleared in race toward quantum computing ...

Focus on Europe

Hyperion Research invites submissions for HPC Innovation Excellence Awards ...

Optalysys launches world's first commercial optical processing system, the FT:X 2000 ...

SDSC's Research Data Services to host first U.S. GO FAIR Office ...

Intel to support the Irish Centre for High End Computing on new collaborative quantum computing project ...

New simulation methods to visualise quantum effects in superfluid fermions ...

Middleware

International team to organize 2019 survey of MPI usages ...

Energy Laboratory chooses Qumulo's file storage for its computational science centre ...

Hardware

Mellanox showcases live system demonstrations of LinkX 200G & 400G cables and transceivers at OFC 2019 ...

Alan D. George named Interim Director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center ...

ScaleMP and AMD announce strategic collaboration for scale-up EPYC servers ...

NVIDIA to acquire Mellanox for $6,9 billion ...

Air Force Research Laboratory introduces new sharable supercomputing capability for classified research ...

Applications

High CO2 levels can destabilize marine layer clouds ...

Using supercomputers to checkmate cancer ...

Revealing the role of neutron stars in gravitational wave discoveries ...

UC San Diego scientists computationally model chemical realities of water ...

TACC assists in massive data collection effort in lung development to help premature babies ...

New AI tool revolutionizes process for matching cancer patients with clinical trials ...

Raph Hix models the inner workings of supernovae on the world’s most powerful supercomputers ...

EPFL researchers simulate the process of adhesive wear ...

The Cloud

Oracle participates in National Science Foundation Cloud for scientific research project ...

Using supercomputers to checkmate cancer


Marcel Frenkel is a PhD student in the Donald Lab and one of the founders of Gavilán Biodesign.
22 Feb 2019 Durham - Unless they have had a family member with cancer, most people don't know that cancer cells mutate rapidly to escape the drugs we use to kill them. Duke PhD student Marcel Frenkel knows this problem well, as he watched his mom's pancreatic cancer develop resistance to her therapies and pass away in 2015.

He worked with his advisor, Bruce Donald, to form a new company to design better drugs. Gavilán Biodesign, an interdisciplinary team of Duke scientists, have developed a software platform that predicts and out-maneuvers possible drug resistance mutations. Now, as one of 11 early-stage biotech companies selected at IndieBio, a Silicon Valley biotech accelerator, they plan to propel their technology into the world of entrepreneurship.

"Drug resistance is the main reason for poor prognosis in both cancer and infectious diseases, and until now there were no good solutions to the problem", stated Marcel Frenkel.

Gavilán's ability to out-maneuver resistance, by using their proprietary AI technology to design drugs with a property called resistance-resilience, has the potential to change the way drugs are made by introducing the ideas of evolution and time into drug design.

"Cancer cells mutate to survive an attack, but their weakness is they are myopic. Our software provides us with 20/20 vision: it predicts their next mutation before they make it, as well as all possible mutations they could make down the line", stated Jonathan Jou, another of Gavilán's co-founders. "Knowing how cancer cells mutate allows us to design drugs that work both now and later, as they evolve", added Bruce R. Donald, co-founder of Gavilán and the James B. Duke Professor of Computer Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry at Duke University.

Like a chess grandmaster, Gavilán thinks many moves ahead - reducing development time and the nearly $2 billion cost of bringing a drug to market.

"We can optimize drugs to bind more potently, to multiple targets, while keeping benign parts untouched - even as the targets mutate - without causing toxicity", stated Mark Hallen, a co-founder of Gavilán. "To find the ideal drug, our platform evaluates one hundred trillion combinatorial structures per day."

The potential cost and time this would save in drug design and the impact this could have on human health has garnered the attention of San Francisco-based IndieBio, a premier start-up accelerator for biotechnology. There, Gavilán will be on the fast-track for moving their novel idea to a commercial product.

This idea of targeting drug resistance first started in Bruce Donald's lab at Duke University with the development of OSPREY, an open-source software suite validated in multiple papers predicting drug resistance in cancer and MRSA. Gavilán has taken the foundations of OSPREY and built upon it new features to develop a suite of programmes that can out-think, out-maneuver, and out-flank bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells.

Spinning out a company like Gavilán requires four things: a team of great entrepreneurs, a compelling vision, solid science, and a strong technology. Even with all these things in place, navigating the first steps can be challenging. Duke's Office of Licensing & Ventures (OLV) offers help in protecting and moving novel ideas forward.

Selecting the optimal model for licensing software can be a critical determination that can drive business and provide protection for valuable intellectual property (IP) rights. So, the next step was to meet with Dinesh Divakaran, a software licensing specialist in OLV.

Now, with their IP secured, Gavilán's game-changing idea and strong founding team are getting big attention from the right people to help take the next step to commercialization.

Having been selected from hundreds of applicants, Gavilán has moved their company to San Francisco to start a four-month programme that will turn these scientists into successful entrepreneurs with the help of seed-funding, lab space, computational clusters, mentoring, and venture capital (VC) days.

"At IndieBio we first key in on great founders. Gavilán's founding team has deep expertise and ability to communicate both their scientific insight and how it translates to solving a large, difficult problem", stated Alex Kopelyan, Program Director & Partner for IndieBio.

For an early start-up, high caliber partners are essential and Gavilán's founders feel this partnership is a master move that will turn their idea into a great success.
Source: Duke University

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2019-03-11

Focus

Interview with EuroHPC JU interim executive director Gustav Kalbe ...

Quantum computing

9,1 million euro for trinational quantum research ...

IBM achieves highest quantum volume to date and establishes roadmap for reaching quantum advantage ...

Microsoft Quantum Team is announcing the Microsoft Quantum Network ...

Los Alamos National Laboratory upgrades to D-Wave 2000Q quantum computer ...

New hurdle cleared in race toward quantum computing ...

Focus on Europe

Hyperion Research invites submissions for HPC Innovation Excellence Awards ...

Optalysys launches world's first commercial optical processing system, the FT:X 2000 ...

SDSC's Research Data Services to host first U.S. GO FAIR Office ...

Intel to support the Irish Centre for High End Computing on new collaborative quantum computing project ...

New simulation methods to visualise quantum effects in superfluid fermions ...

Middleware

International team to organize 2019 survey of MPI usages ...

Energy Laboratory chooses Qumulo's file storage for its computational science centre ...

Hardware

Mellanox showcases live system demonstrations of LinkX 200G & 400G cables and transceivers at OFC 2019 ...

Alan D. George named Interim Director of the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center ...

ScaleMP and AMD announce strategic collaboration for scale-up EPYC servers ...

NVIDIA to acquire Mellanox for $6,9 billion ...

Air Force Research Laboratory introduces new sharable supercomputing capability for classified research ...

Applications

High CO2 levels can destabilize marine layer clouds ...

Using supercomputers to checkmate cancer ...

Revealing the role of neutron stars in gravitational wave discoveries ...

UC San Diego scientists computationally model chemical realities of water ...

TACC assists in massive data collection effort in lung development to help premature babies ...

New AI tool revolutionizes process for matching cancer patients with clinical trials ...

Raph Hix models the inner workings of supernovae on the world’s most powerful supercomputers ...

EPFL researchers simulate the process of adhesive wear ...

The Cloud

Oracle participates in National Science Foundation Cloud for scientific research project ...