SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–insitro, a machine-learning driven drug discovery and development company, today announced the appointment of Serafim Batzoglou, Ph.D., as the company’s Chief Data Officer. Dr. Batzoglou brings to insitro more than two decades of expertise in machine learning and computational genomics as a former Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and Vice President of Applied and Computational Biology at Illumina.
“insitro is leveraging predictive models to advance better therapies through a combination of cutting-edge machine learning, cohort-level human genetics and biological data generation at scale,” said Daphne Koller, founder and CEO of insitro. “Serafim is one of the few individuals who has done leading work in all of these areas. He has demonstrated the ability to do novel research while also bringing research insights into practice within an industry setting. As our first Chief Data Officer, he brings to insitro a unique combination of expertise that will considerably accelerate our efforts to transform drug discovery and bring new medicines to patients who need them.”
Dr. Batzoglou joins insitro from Illumina, where he recently served as the company’s Vice President of Applied and Computational Biology. There, he led research and technology development of AI and molecular assays to make genomic data more interpretable in human health. His computational team developed deep learning methods for image processing across sequencing instruments, as well as for classification of patient genomic variants according to their molecular cellular effects and pathogenicity, facilitating diagnostic ability for genetic disease patients.
During his tenure at Stanford from 2001 to 2016, Dr. Batzoglou focused on the application of algorithms and machine learning, the study of large scale genomic and biomedical data, and the development of widely used tools in genomics. His research has spanned sequence assembly, genome alignment, identification of functional elements including gene coding regions, splice sites and transcription factor binding sites, folding of RNA structures, population genomics, cancer genomics, sequencing technologies and their use in personal genome and metagenome reconstruction, and single cell transcriptomics, among other topics.
Dr. Batzoglou is also the co-founder of DNAnexus, a secure cloud platform and global network for scientific collaboration and accelerated discovery, and previously served on the company’s board of directors. He has served on many scientific advisory boards, including at 23andMe, Moleculo and NextBio. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including being named one of the top 100 young innovators by MIT Technology Review, The International Society of Computational Biology’s inaugural Innovator Award and one of the top 25 voices in Precision Medicine by Insight Monk. Dr. Batzoglou holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science, a Master’s in Electrical Engineering, and a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from MIT. In his Ph.D. work, he focused on computational biology and was involved in the assembly and comparative analysis of the first mammalian and human genomes.
“insitro is unique in its integration of cutting-edge machine learning with ground-breaking innovations in cell differentiation and gene editing to address the challenges of patient segmentation, target discovery, and drug discovery and development today,” said Dr. Batzoglou. “insitro has built an outstanding team, with equal and synergistic focus on experimental and computational cellular biology. I am thrilled to help advance this bold mission to create a new approach to better, faster, and cheaper drug development.”
insitro is a data-driven drug discovery and development company using machine learning and high-throughput biology to transform the way that drugs are discovered and delivered to patients. The company is applying state-of-the-art technologies from bioengineering to create massive data sets that enable the power of modern machine learning methods to be brought to bear on key bottlenecks in pharmaceutical R&D. The resulting predictive models will be used to accelerate target selection, to design and develop effective therapeutics, and to inform clinical strategy. insitro was launched in 2018 with a Series A of over $100M funded by a16z, Arch Venture Partners, Foresite Capital, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Third Rock Ventures, as well as additional investments from Alexandria Venture Investments, Bezos Expeditions, Mubadala Investment Company, Two Sigma Ventures, Verily, and other undisclosed investors. The company is located in South San Francisco, CA. For more information on insitro, please visit the company’s website at www.insitro.com.
Katie Engleman, 1AB