The Startup
Published in

The Startup

Self -Driving… Chemistry?

“Iterations” (Seema Gaur, Emil “GAN” Barbuta)
  • New antibiotics must be found — they are not designed. For example, a key step in the mass-production of penicillin was the discovery of an unusually easy-to-grow mould on a cantaloupe in Peoria, Illinois. As much as we admire the diligent global search which found that cantaloupe, as a reliable, repeatable process for creating new medications, perhaps we could improve on it.
  • As obliging as our tiny bioreactor-dwelling workers are, their virtuosity in crafting large molecules is limited to what can be described by a DNA sequence (which itself must be short enough for us to synthesize successfully). This rules out almost the entire periodic table.
  • Even limiting ourselves to “things that yeast can make”, we still need to devise a DNA sequence or set of sequences that will yield the desired result. DNA is ‘expressed’ or ‘executed’ by being turned into proteins which need to fold themselves into the final, functional shape. Getting the sequence just right for a reliably folding result is not a simple problem.





Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +768K followers.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Edward Dixon

#AI guy, Principal/Founder @ Rigr AI, co-author of ‘Demystifying AI for the Enterprise’.