With $101M Launch, Seismic Seeks Place as Important Immunology Innovator

Boston Financial District

Watertown, Massachusetts-based biotech company Seismic Therapeutic, Inc. announced its launch and financing of $101 million to fund two new programs and further develop its existing IMPACT™ platform.

Seismic’s technology hastens the discovery of new immunology drugs for autoimmune diseases using a powerful toolkit of machine learning, structural biology, protein engineering and translational immunology. The biologics it has allowed the young company to discover could help it target autoimmune diseases with underlying adaptive immunity dysregulation while making it easier to avoid immunogenicity by searching efficiently for protein structures that will go undetected by the immune system and avoid provoking a response.

Lightspeed Venture Partners led The Series A with lead founding investors Timothy A. Springer, Ph.D., and Polaris Partners, new investors GV, Boxer Capital, Samsara BioCapital and Seismic management and founders.

Seismic Co-founder, President and CEO Jo Viney, Ph.D. emphasized how this step could facilitate a revolution in the field of immunology.

“The time is right to move the needle in immunology, as advances in technology now enable us to discover medicines to address complex immune system biology in dramatically improved ways,” Viney said. “We are leading the next generation of immunology drug development with Seismic’s platform. By integrating machine learning throughout the biologics drug discovery process, we are powered by a systematic and programmable approach to design superior biologics from initial discovery and therapeutic design through to manufacturability.”

To achieve this end, Seismic is pursuing clinical development for its first two lead drug programs targeting Ig (immunoglobulin)-mediated autoimmunity and cell-mediated autoimmunity respectively. The funding will also allow the company to further enhance its IMPACT platform with machine learning technologies applied to immunology therapeutics, a goal that Alan Crane, Seismic founder and chairman and entrepreneur partner at Polaris expressed excitement about.

“This strong financing and syndicate enable Seismic to aggressively advance multiple product candidates to the clinic. Through its leading-edge integration of machine learning into drug development, the company is well-positioned to be an important innovator in immunology,” he said.

The IMPACT platform allows for multitasking when generating novel drug molecules. Machine learning is paired in tandem with protein engineering, structural biology and translational immunology to allow for the design and analysis of many proteins and protein modifications simultaneously, accelerating the overall process.

This efficient parallel process also enables Seismic to bypass the trial and error methods of conventional biologics development by considering many options at once, striking the balance required to optimize for biologic function and developability.

The result is a superior therapeutic drug, explained Springer, a Seismic co-founder and professor at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

“Biologics drug development has undergone extraordinary advances in recent years, and the advent of machine learning working in concert with structural biology and protein engineering offers an entirely new trajectory for creating innovative biologics medicines,” he said. “Seismic is taking a major leap forward by fully integrating machine learning throughout the biologics drug development process, whereas earlier efforts to date have generally used machine learning in a much less integrated way.”

Lightspeed Founder and Partner Shelley Chu, M.D., Ph.D. is excited about the possibilities this joint venture holds.

“The Seismic team has made rapid progress in building a world-class platform for immunology drug innovation, incorporating the power of machine learning and guided by the team’s expert drug hunters, technology integrators and company builders,” she said. “We look forward to the exciting future for this company and the immunology medicines it will advance for patients.”

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