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Cyrus Biotech CEO and cofounder Lucas Nivon
Cyrus Biotech CEO and cofounder Lucas Nivon

CoMotion at the University of Washington is licensing the Rosetta protein design software to Cyrus Biotechnology, which plans to create a more user-friendly version of the program. Cyrus Biotech recently raised $850,000 and today’s announcement brings the startup out of stealth mode.

Rosetta sorts through large data sets to allow scientists to develop therapeutic uses for new and existing proteins.

Cyrus Biotech plans to reintroduce Rosetta as software-as-a-service for drug makers with a sleeker user interface and cloud computing power, while simplifying procedure through mass automation. At UW, Rosetta required extensive training and specialized computers. Cyrus Biotech hopes to bring down the training time and make the program accessible on computers without powerful local computing clusters.

Rosetta was developed by UW biochemistry professor and director of the Institute for Protein Design David Baker. It is a computer-aided design application for proteins. Cyrus Biotech hopes its commercial form will help drug makers bring new protein-based medicines to market by allowing them to determine if an existing protein has therapeutic qualities or help in forming a new protein for use in medicine.

Lucas Nivon, CEO and co-founder of Cyrus Biotech, said he plans to bring the software to market in the next two years.

“Cyrus is listening to customers and interviewing scientists to figure out which Rosetta tools are most useful, with the goal of creating software that fits scientists’ real needs, and a support team to deal with difficult customer tasks,” said Nivon.

Cyrus Biotech was founded in 2014 and received $500,000 in seed funding from the W Fund, with another $350,000 raised from the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association’s WINGS angel investment group.

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