Basecamp Research raises $20M to map life on earth and design proteins to match

Less than one percent of the biochemistries in nature have been discovered – a fraction of that percentage has been fully characterized in the real world.​,” said Oliver Vince, co-founder at Basecamp Research. “Recent advances in bioinformatics, AI and data science are enabling our team to map a world of untapped possibility, and we’re just getting started.”

The capital will be used to continue building a bridge between biodiversity and biotechnology through feeding “the largest global knowledge graph of life on earth”​ to inform the design of bioengineered protein products across pharmaceutical, nutrition, agriculture and consumer goods industries.

Just getting started: Basecamp beginnings

Basecamp Research was founded in 2019 after Vince and cofounder Glen Gowers ventured off on a sequencing expedition to a remote icecap in Iceland, armed with a love of the outdoors and PhDs in synthetic biology and bioengineering. There, they realized that nature may already have many of the solutions that biotech is looking for but that they just needed to invest in the exploration and the tools to find them.

“We both spent a lot of time trying to improve enzymes using the latest protein engineering techniques,”​ Gowers said, acknowledging that AI-based protein design has been fundamentally limited by the datasets available. “It then turned out that a better version of the enzymes we were looking for already existed in nature.”

That first expedition has since grown into a team of Antarctic ice divers, machine learning graph scientists, protein advisors and biodiversity liaisons, all working to advance an ever-expanding knowledge base on proteins and the properties of their native habitats. The latest round of funding, which brings the total to $30 million, will be used for hiring, validation of internal products and developing the product portfolio.

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