Google has quietly put millions of dollars' worth of resources into a biotech startup that creates targeted antibody drugs that single out diseased targets among healthy cells. The Internet search giant ultimately hopes that computer models alone could identify the best antibody for particular targets for testing in human clinical trials. That would speed up or even replace the usual "wet lab" work and years spent on drug safety testing in animals and humans that costs hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Xconomy.
Tillman Gerngross, a chemical engineer at Dartmouth University who founded Adimab, currently relies on a yeast-based model to create hundreds of antibodies aimed at a certain target within just eight weeks. That gives Adimab an edge over biotech labs that spend six to 18 months working on antibody candidates, but Gerngross has set his sights even higher with the help of Google Ventures, the venture arm of Google.
This may sound like a strange venture for Google, but Gerngross noted that it's a mathematical problem which requires "formidable" computing power. So it's not necessarily as offbeat as Google's efforts to develop renewable energy, give smart-charging electric cars a boost, or toy with quantum computing.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.