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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Student Spotlight: Chief Scientist Helps Broaden Biotechnology Field

Bit Bio, the U.K.-based startup, only needed three weeks to raise $41.5 million in a Series A funding round that will be used to support the company’s goal to transition biology into engineering. 

This synthetic biology team was founded by stem cell biologist and neurosurgeon, Mark Kotter, in 2016 to commercialize biotechnology that can reduce the cost and increase the production capacity for differentiated human cells. These cells can be used in targeted therapies and as a method to accelerate pharmaceutical drug discovery. Bit Bio’s goal is to be able to reproduce every human cell type, boosting basic research and enabling a new generation of cell therapies.

How can this type of cell therapy specifically help? By generating every cell type in the human body, this biotechnology will help unlock solutions for tackling cancer, autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative disorders. Bit Bio’s approach will also help reduce expenses, aid drug discovery, and decrease the reliance on animal studies. 

Quantic alum, Grant Belgard, is the Head of Bioinformatics at Bit Bio. The company’s website explains the centrality of computation: “Bit Bio represents the two fields: coding and biology that determine the identity of every human cell. Ultimately, bits are the building blocks of code, just as cells are the building blocks of life. This is reflective of what Bit Bio does: precise reprogramming of human stem cells.” 

Belgard is also the Chief Scientist and CEO of The Bioinformatics CRO. The company was developed as the subject of his Capstone project in Quantic’s Executive MBA program. The flexibility of the curriculum enabled Belgard to learn, while simultaneously building his new company and pursuing his professional goals.

Now, Belgard’s goal for The Bioinformatics CRO is to streamline biomedical research worldwide. This represents a new breed of contract research organization that offers quality customized bioinformatics services to global biotechnology companies.

Biotechnology companies, like Bit Bio and The Bioinformatics CRO, will help merge biology and engineering and can help bring about long-awaited precision for stem cell research and help improve the lives of millions.

The Quantic community is thrilled for Grant and his colleagues. We can’t wait to see what he does next and how this combination of data science and biology will help code cells for the well-being of humanity.


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