Discover more from Decoding Bio
A writing collective documenting the latest science, news, and analysis at the intersection of tech and bio.
TechBio. Computational biology. Platform biology. Next-gen biotechnology. Bio-IT. There are as many names as there are interpretations for the emerging field at the intersection of biology, machine learning, automation, and other disciplines. As you may have guessed from the title of this newsletter, we chose the name TechBio to flip the emphasis from its biotech counterpart and focus on the technological advancements underpinning the next wave of innovation in biology.
The differences between TechBio and biotech, and the purported advantages of the TechBio approach, are well advertised. Compared to traditional biotech, TechBio companies are often founder-led, adopt engineering principles, integrate wet-lab and dry-lab, focus on platforms vs. single assets, and build interdisciplinary teams of scientists and ML, automation, and software engineers. By integrating tech in biological workflows, the goal of TechBio is to develop products (e.g., drugs) with increased efficacy, efficiency, and scale.
TechBio is not without its detractors, however, and there are credible arguments that the space has over-promised and is still yet to deliver. AlphaFold, one of the biggest developments in computational biology in a generation, isn’t likely to revolutionize drug discovery as is commonly claimed. Given the messiness and variability of biology, some question whether computational technologies are really appropriate, much less useful. Others argue that the hype has caught up to TechBio investors in the current biotech market downturn, where platforms have been deprioritized in favor of quality clinical-stage assets.
The goal of Decoding TechBio is to cut through the hype to understand the concrete science and data behind the next-generation of biotech companies. We started this newsletter to curate news and provide analysis and commentary on the rapidly developing TechBio and biotech industries. Our modest goal is to facilitate conversation. Our ambitious goal is to help communicate the state of the field, addressing questions like:
What have been the highest impact scientific discoveries in TechBio?
What evidence exists that AI accelerates drug development timelines or drives down costs of developing a drug?
How many AI-discovered drugs have made it to clinical trials?
How have TechBio companies performed on the public markets? How are platforms valued?
If this sounds interesting, please subscribe, tell your friends, and join the conversation.
Who we are:
What you can expect to see from us:
Weekly Digest: Each week, we’ll highlight notable news, science, major funding rounds, and share what we’re reading and listening to in TechBio. Everything will be ~decoded~, easy to understand regardless of whether you’re a genomics researcher or…well…our parents who still don’t quite know what we do for a living.
Features and Essays: We’ll also share commentary and analysis on specific topics like how to value a platform or whether AI is really speeding up drug discovery. We might analyze a new technology or paper here and there as well. It’s our hope to encourage conversation so we can help each other understand these topics.
If there is something specific you’d like to see from us, please respond to this email or hit any of us up on Twitter. Our DMs are open.
Thanks for reading, we’re excited to journey through TechBio with you.