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February 7, 2023

UMass Chan licenses bioinformatics software platform to new Cambridge tech firm

A view of UMass Chan Medical School from Plantation Street in Worcester. Photo | Timothy Doyle UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester

UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester has licensed its bioinformatics data processing and analysis technology, called Foundry, to Via Scientific Inc., a Cambridge technology company.

The platform was developed by Alper Kucukural and Manuel Garber, co-directors of the Bioinformatics Core at UMass Chan and co-founders of Via Scientific. It allows users to automate the majority of intensive bioinformatics work, such as verifying and collating data or writing new code, which allows them to focus on interpreting scientific data and research, according to a Thursday release by UMass Chan.

“There are labs all over the world generating massive amounts of data. The current model, which involves dedicated staff to off-load bioinformatics work, simply isn’t scalable,” Garber said in the press release. “Bioinformaticians are in high demand, meaning procuring talent is difficult and costly.”

The technology shortens the path to scientific breakthroughs, according to a Thursday press release from Via Scientific, which now holds exclusive commercial rights to the platform.

"As both an academician and chief scientific officer at Moderna, I saw firsthand the need for a powerful and adaptable tool like Foundry," Via Scientific Co-founder Melissa Moore said in the release. “Scientists are consistently challenged to keep up with our ability to ask questions and imagine possibilities. Foundry transforms 'process time' into 'scientific time', so scientific teams can focus on unlocking the underlying science that results in new insights and breakthroughs."

Via Scientific was founded in 2022 and publicly launched in February 2023.

The Via Scientific partnership was facilitated by the Bridge Innovation and Business Development office, which serves as a hub for commercialization activities at UMass Chan Medical School, according to the UMass Chan website.

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