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Colossal Raises $60 Million Series A to Resurrect a Woolly Mammoth


Colossal Raises $60 Million Series A to Resurrect a Woolly Mammoth

If you're scratching your head on this one, so are we. But with an open minds, let's see what Colossal is about and why.

Colossal is a spin off from the work of George Church - one of the creators of the Human Genome Project and a geneticist at Harvard and MIT. Church, may be considered eccentric in the filed of science, for example, he's working on editing multiple genes to create viable organs for human transplant from pig embryos. In this spirit, Church’s lab has also been trying to resurrect a woolly mammoth since 2017.

As co-founder and CEO Ben Lamm suggests, it’s the technology that the company is creating that is the selling point to investors. The technology ranges from artificial wombs, to stem cell lines, to computational biology software.

“The business goal as we go toward the mammoth is developing these technologies that we think have larger applications to human healthcare,” he told TechCrunch. The goal here would be to spin off a few technologies to drive new sources of revenue, and balance out expenditures from other arms of the mammoth experiment.

To resurrect the Woolly Mammoth is a colossal task (pun intended). It starts with mapping the entire genome for the creature and then take Asian elephant cells, use CRISPR to tweak them gene-by-gene until they resemble something like an Asian elephant-mammoth hybrid. 

This is what the investment is for, where Colossal has to invent all of the tools (software, tacit knowledge..etc), needed to do that mapping at scale, and actually carry a hybrid elephant to term.

Colossal has been working on an internal software product, says Lamm. In theory, the software should perform the computational biology needed to link certain genes to certain traits, to solve the de-extinction puzzle. Lamm estimates that the company will have something to show the public by Q3 of 2022.

This series A round brings the company’s total funding to $75 million. Lamm believes the funding should provide enough runway to get the company to the viable embryo stage. Let's see.

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