Combining biologics with deep learning to find new antibodies faster


ETH Zurich spin-off deepCDR Biologics’ has won CHF150k from Venture Kick. The start-up provides a faster and more efficient method for the development of next-generation antibody drugs used to improve cancer therapy and treat immunological disorders and infectious diseases.


Currently, drug-developers searching for new therapeutic antibodies use time-consuming experimental screening processes that can take years to develop a handful of candidates ready for clinical trials. DeepCDR’s co-founders Derek Mason, Simon Friedensohn, Cédric Weber, Sai Reddy, and André Mercanzini combine gene editing, deep sequencing, and deep learning to radically accelerate the therapeutic antibody discovery process, an existing service market expect to grow to USD 2.8 billion in the next seven years.

Basel-based deepCDR Biologics harnesses the power of deep learning and combines it with drug screening in mammalian cells to move beyond experimental screening used in traditional therapeutic antibody discovery and engineering processes. The technology platform allows the discovery and production of several thousands of optimized lead candidates within months, increasing both the speed and throughput of conventional approaches by up to 10 to 100-fold.

Antibodies against Covid-19

Furthermore, these new processes are highly scalable and allow running multiple drug discovery and optimization campaigns for a fraction of the costs. In collaboration with ETH Zurich, deepCDR has responded to the ongoing global pandemic by using their technology to discover highly potent and neutralizing antibodies for the treatment of COVID-19.

“Since receiving the first ‘kick’ back in September 2019, Venture Kick’s guidance and support have been essential for deepCDR Biologics’ early growth and client acquisition,” said Derek Mason, deepCDR Biologics co-founder.

The start-up is already working with several biotech and pharmaceutical companies and plans on using the Venture Kick funds to continue expanding their team of experimental and computational scientists as well as increasing their operational capacity to accommodate their growing customer base.

(Press release / SK)