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Dallas’ Colossal Biosciences spins off new software firm backed by $30 million

Dallas Morning News logo Dallas Morning News 9/27/2022 Alexandra Skores, The Dallas Morning News

Colossal Biosciences, the Dallas company working to bring back the woolly mammoth and Tasmanian tiger, has created a spinoff firm that’ll focus on computational life sciences.

With $30 million in funding from investor JAZZ Venture Partners and billionaire Thomas Tull, Form Bio will create a platform that replaces code-heavy processes with user-friendly software, said Ben Lamm, co-founder and CEO of Colossal Biosciences.

It’s the first offshoot of Colossal. The de-extinction company has gathered over $75 million in backing to develop software and artificial wombs to advance species preservation and restoration and further develop human genetic technologies.

Lamm said Form Bio’s technology can be used for more than the de-extinction practices, such as drug discovery, gene and cell therapy, manufacturing efficiency and academic research.

“We’re building technologies that make it much faster and much easier for us to do species preservation and de-extinction of both the Tasmanian tiger and the woolly mammoth, and potentially other species in the future,” Lamm said.

Kent Wakeford, Colossal’s chief operating officer, will become co-CEO of Form Bio along with Andrew Busey. Busey is co-founder of Colossal and its chief product officer. Adam Milne, former chief operating officer of BioLabs, will join as Colossal’s chief operating officer.

Form Bio already has 35 employees in Texas, Wakeford said.

“These tools, specifically the machine learning and the advancements in analytics, we saw could help a much broader yield for everything that is being created in this new kind of bioeconomy,” Wakeford said.

He points to national attention being directed to life sciences as a growing part of the economy. A few weeks ago, Wakeford said, the White House announced that President Joe Biden would sign an executive order creating a National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative. One estimate places a $1 trillion value on the U.S. bioeconomy.

“This is going to touch all aspects of our life, whether it is the medicines we take, the foods we eat, the materials we wear, the fuels we put in our cars or airplanes,” Wakeford said. “This is kind of a revolution that is happening.”

Lamm said the announcement fits an “ambitious timeline” for Colossal, which just surpassed its first year in operation.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other spinouts down the line,” said Lamm, a serial entrepreneur whose previous ventures ranged from mobile software and immersive game development to artificial intelligence products.

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