Cellarity Founded to Identify New Drugs that Target Specific Cellular Behaviors

The company, launched by Flagship Pioneering, will use a digital platform for quantifying cellular behaviors to gain insights that can be used for drug development.

Flagship Pioneering, a firm that creates new companies in the life sciences sector, has been interested in using digital technologies to understand diseases and accelerate drug discovery. One of its latest launches is Cellarity, a company based on a digital platform that analyzes cellular activity and alterations in cellular behavior as the result of diseases, with the goal of quantitatively characterizing changes in cellular behaviors for a given disease to identify drugs that can enable those changed behaviors to be returned to their normal state.

Rather than focus on a single protein or pathway as a drug target, Cellarity is simultaneously evaluating molecular, cellular, phenotypic, organismal, and clinical factors, according to the company. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and advances in biology, Cellarity is harnessing the complexity of diseases to “enable direct lead and drug generation, obviating the need for random screening paradigms,” says Flagship Pioneering CEO Noubar Afeyan.

Cellarity’s CEO is Flagship Pioneering Partner Avak Kahvejian, and its President is Cristina Rondinone, previously head of cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic diseases at Medimmune, AstraZeneca’s research subsidiary. Milind Kamkolkar, who previously worked at Sanofi as chief data officer and was a key player in the Joint Enterprise Data Initiative (JEDI), the foundation of Sanofi’s digital strategy, serves as Cellarity’s chief digital and data officer.

Overall, Cellarity’s drug discovery platform “integrates cell and network biology from human and animal samples, and tissue culture systems, and allows for clearer translatability,” according to Kahvejian, and is already demonstrating clear potential to impact human health. Cellarium maps biological connections to AI-generated cell behavior screening to rapidly identify and explore new therapeutic hypotheses. Results have already been obtained using animal models, and Cellarity is preparing to move multiple programs to the clinic.

David Alvaro, Ph.D.

David is Scientific Editor in Chief of the Pharma’s Almanac content enterprise, responsible for directing and generating industry, scientific and research-based content, including client-owned strategic content, in addition to serving as Scientific Research Director for That's Nice. Before joining That’s Nice, David served as a scientific editor for the multidisciplinary scientific journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. He received a B.A. in Biology from New York University in 1999 and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Development from Columbia University in 2008.