A-Alpha Bio is developing a platform that uses genetically engineered yeast to help scientists test hundreds of drug candidates against thousands of potential targets. Photo by Dennis Wise / University of Washington
UW’s College of Engineering recently published a feature on A-Alpha Bio, a startup led by BioE Ph.D. alumnus David Younger, and Ph.D. students Bob Lamm and Randolph Lopez. The team has developed a screening platform using genetically engineered yeast to help scientists test hundreds of drug candidates against thousands of potential protein targets, and identify dangerous interactions. They hope their product lowers the cost of drug development — currently, 2.6 billion dollars per drug, on average — and improves the success of clinical trials, where nine out of 10 drug candidates now fail.
Learning the language of business, with the help of UW’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, enabled the team to start their company, and take their ideas from the lab to Seattle’s entrepreneurship community and beyond. The team honed their business skills at the 2017 UW Science & Technology Showcase and Business Plan Competition, and went on to win this year’s $15,000 Hollomon Family grand prize at at the Hollomon Health Innovation Challenge and the UW Business Plan Competition’s $25,000 Herbert B. Jones Foundation grand prize,