Scientific developments play a big part in tech and societal advancements, be it cultured meat, milk that does not come from cows, new medications and vaccines, and innovative climatic solutions to name a few. Most of these developments wouldn't be possible without other technological tools. But scientists often find themselves with mountains of data and don't know what to do with it. This is where the new Israeli startup BioRaptor wants to enter the picture.
Scientists don't have enough tools
Bioraptor is developing tools for the field of synthetic biology which is where biology and other technology come together to produce new products that can really change the way we live. But the R&D processes of companies in this field leave huge amounts of data unused and therefore slow down the development process. But by using BioRaptor's system, perhaps this will change. BioRaptor's development can take data, analyze it, decipher it, and with the help of AI also provide insights that will allow scientists to advance their research and development processes. "We believe that to be successful, scientists and engineers need to be equipped with tools that they can use themselves. Only by making deep insights accessible to scientists will it be possible to really move forward quickly and turn what might be considered science fiction today into reality," explains Yaron David, co-founder and CTO of Bioraptor, a neuroscience Ph.D. turned software engineer.
According to him, the conditions necessary for optimal production of products such as transgenic steak or cow-free milk are simply unknown. To find out what the optimal conditions are, scientists are busy with long experiments. But Bioraptor wants to guide them using artificial intelligence instead: "One way is through artificial intelligence-based sensors. We use sensors that have been around for decades and by learning the conditions, create an image in real-time of what is happening inside the organism. This basically allows scientists a new way to take a look at what is happening inside the organism and predict what will make it grow larger or express more of the product."
Finding their way back to one another
David met his co-founder, Ori Zakin (CEO) when they founded the Emerge Clinical Solutions development center together, which developed NLP-based products to help doctors read information from patients' personal files and make it more accessible to them. The two split up to different jobs– one at Drivenets and the other at Assured Allies, but eventually met up again sometime later. David explained how they decided to focus on the world of biology by meeting with several companies in the field to try to understand what solutions they were looking for. "After a few months, we noticed a recurring problem… Luckily, we knew we had an advantage since we could bring the knowledge we had accumulated from our pasts and help all those scientists and companies; We knew we could build them a product that would really improve the profit line."
Zakin says that he was surprised to discover how few tools there are for scientists: "Along the way, we discovered that the people who produce the medicines of tomorrow, futuristic food, and solutions for global warming are the ones who receive the fewest tools for machine learning and access to complex data. This is an opportunity for me, as a software engineer, to create a real revolution in an industry that makes the world a better place." This past Friday (Nov. 25), Bioraptor also announces a fundraising round of 3 million dollars led by lool Ventures and CPT Capital, with the participation of FoodHack and several interesting entrepreneurs such as Danny Grander (from Snyk), Yuval Weisglass (from TowerSec and Ansa), and Saar Dickman (from Dynamic Infrastructure and TowerSec). The company plans to expand the capabilities of its platform, while also broadening its relevant fields from imaging, fermentation, and cell cultures to genetics.