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WHAT IF…we could design medicines targeting the full cellular and molecular complexity of disease to dramatically improve the success rate of drug discovery and of curing disease?

A Flagship Pioneering Company

Created by scientist-entrepreneurs, Cellarity’s journey began with brainstorming sessions between Flagship Pioneering Founder and CEO Noubar Afeyan, Partner Avak Kahvejian and Senior Associate Nick Plugis.

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Cells are the fundamental unit of life. As evolved and dynamic systems, cells have behaviors that are essential to human health. The many diverse behaviors of cells are defined and governed at the level of networks, through the complex interactions of their molecular components.

The potential to achieve medical breakthroughs by deciphering the full cellular and molecular complexity of disease has long attracted researchers. Cellarity’s founders understood that powerful new technologies can now perturb and quantitate virtually any cellular or molecular component in parallel and, in so doing, generate the data necessary to unravel this complexity. They also realized the depth and diversity of such data surpass the human capacity for interpretation.

Cellarity approaches drug discovery and development from this new frame of reference, driven by the networks underlying cell behaviors rather than by a cell's individual parts.

Rather than fully capturing the complexity of disease, researchers historically have simplified cell behavior, distilling cells to their molecular components. In this way, individual genes or pathways isolated from cells have provided the foundation for deterministic models that reduce massive and complex biological networks to a single protein- or pathway-driver of disease. While this target-centric approach has produced many effective therapies, its success is reaching the point of diminishing returns. This coincides with a growing appreciation of the complexity of disease.

In other industries, the human capacity to comprehend the dynamics of complex systems has been increasingly assisted by the capabilities enabled by the power of big data, distributed computing and novel mathematical computational methods. What were once extremely difficult problems to solve may now be approached by leveraging newly invented tools and methods that are domain agnostic. Machine learning, information theory, network science and dynamical system analysis can all be leveraged to gain an understanding of complexity. What is more, they can be used to generate accurate predictions for the manipulation of such systems.

Cellarity’s founders believe a similar opportunity exists for drug discovery. We asked whether there was a better way to understand disease and discover drugs—one that appreciates that biology operates at the level of networks—to maximize the likelihood of success.

IT TURNS OUT…by digitizing biology and drug action, Cellarity can harness the molecular networks controlling cell behaviors in a wide array of diseases and uncover potent new medicines to direct them with unprecedented predictability and speed.

Digital Blueprints of Cell Behaviors

Biological experimentation is slow. Computation is fast. High dimensional, fit-for-purpose data allow digital representations to triangulate the network effects underlying cell behaviors. These representations in turn can be virtually perturbed, allowing for hypothesis testing at the speed of computation. The resulting acceleration in biological and perturbational hypothesis testing powers faster discovery of potent new medicines with greater breadth across the range of diseases.

Cellarity In Silico Blueprint 20191024 Cellarity In Silico Blueprint mobile 20191024

Cellarity approaches drug discovery with the goal of correcting cell behavioral aberrations, using cutting-edge technological approaches to understand underlying molecular networks with unprecedented resolution. We leverage these data toward an understanding of how cells change their behavior. These decisions are made through a coordination of molecular events that often cannot be interpreted by a simple description of their component mechanisms. In logic, math and computer science, the arity of a function refers to the number of arguments that function takes, a proxy for their complexity. Uncovering the molecular ‘arity’ of cell behavior enables deeper understanding of the molecular networks regulating disease. Controlling these increases the celerity, or swiftness, of delivering new medicines to patients.

Cells have an encoded ability to change their behaviors. This has long been understood for seemingly deterministic processes such as cellular differentiation and development. In fact, the true range of this ability to change and adapt is far greater and richer than is widely appreciated, as cells continuously explore new behaviors. All cell behaviors are governed not only by intrinsic networks of interacting cellular components but also by extrinsic factors such as signaling molecules, environmental factors and, importantly, medicines.

By measuring the components of individual cells and analyzing these data to understand how they track with shifts in behavior, Cellarity reveals the diversity, connectivity and fluidity of cell behaviors.

Digitally connecting the networks regulating cell behaviors to those of drug action enables Cellarity to speed up the process of identifying potent candidate drugs and reduce the uncertainty of translational efforts. This creates a tremendous capacity to design new medicines rapidly that navigate away from disease-causing cell behaviors.

Cellarity is the first company to improve health by delivering new medicines that predictably alter cell behavior.

A World-Class
Leadership Team

To fulfill their vision for Cellarity, the company’s founders have tapped seasoned experts in therapeutic development, genomics technology, systems biology, digital science and artificial intelligence, who are collaborating in new and innovative ways to usher in a new era of therapeutics discovery.

Cellarity Leadership Team 2019