recipient of the Audacious Project

Charting a new era of antibiotics

Phare Bio is a social venture using novel AI and Deep Learning to tackle the world’s most urgent threats.
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Partnered with the Collins Lab at MIT and the Broad Institute on its AI/deep learning platform for antibiotic discovery work.

Phare Bio is the recipient of the Audacious Project, a collaborative funding initiative between TED and other nonprofits to unlock social impact on a grand scale.

Imagine a world in which common diseases become untreatable. That world may soon be a reality.

The aggressive evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and a dwindling antibiotic discovery pipeline have resulted in an antimicrobial resistance (AMR) crisis. 

Covid-19 has only highlighted the urgency with approximately 15% of hospitalized patients suffering from bacterial co-infections. There is a critical need for new antibiotics — and yet pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have largely abandoned the space for more lucrative markets.
Every 11 seconds someone in the U.S. acquires a resistant infection; every 15 minutes someone dies as a result of one.
* according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A Unique Business Model

Insufficient market incentives and rapid antibiotic resistance leave us vulnerable to the most deadly bacteria. Yet in the midst of this antibiotic crisis, another door is opening. Phare Bio launched in 2020 with an ambitious social venture model and the latest advances in machine learning to address this critical need. Phare addresses the  “valley of death” -- the stage in preclinical development when most drugs fail -- with donor funding, and takes on more costly clinical development with strategic commercial partnerships and company spin-outs. This model enables Phare to develop a novel pipeline of AI-optimized antibiotic candidates, derisk these candidates through preclinical development, and build a sustainable clinical path to ensure that these therapies reach the patients in greatest need. 

Philanthropic funding

MIT AI/Deep
Learning Platform

We screen 1000x as many molecules, 5x faster, at 100x greater success rate for the negligible cost of computing to predict and design novel antibiotics.

Hit-to-Lead
Optimization

With our AI-optimized candidates, we conduct drug metabolism, toxicology pharmacokinetics and efficacy assays to declare lead candidates.

Preclinical development

Our lead candidates move into preclinical development, where we test drug delivery, and conduct extensive in vivo efficacy profiling.
Commercial funding

Clinical Development

Once our candidates are derisked, we partner with large pharma companies or spin out new companies for clinical trials, leveraging Phare’s initial donor funding for long-term sustainability.

Phare streamlines and optimizes the development process by integrating world-class expertise and decades of experience in artificial intelligence (AI), bioengineering, and pharmaceutical development to rapidly discover and develop novel classes of antibiotics that target urgent threats like Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. This unique and self-sustaining approach will enable us to outpace the emergence and global dissemination of antibiotic resistance.

Meet our team

Leadership

Akhila Kosaraju

M.D., CEO & President

Dr. Kosaraju has spent her career building companies and driving innovation in infectious disease and computational biology. She was most recently Co-Founder & CEO of Variant Bio, a venture-backed company specializing in genomics and therapeutic development, and an executive with SIGA Technologies, an antiviral drug developer that successfully advanced antiviral drug candidates to market.

During her tenure, SIGA achieved FDA approval for a novel smallpox antiviral and worked in partnership with the CDC, BARDA and DoD to deliver 2 million courses to the US Strategic National Stockpile. Dr. Kosaraju was a White House appointee in the Pentagon, serving as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. In this capacity, she provided executive leadership in the management of a $50 billion Military Health System that included healthcare for military service members, biodefense, and international humanitarian assistance.

She received the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, the highest non-career civilian honor given within the Department of Defense. She has been a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Materials Technical Advisory Committee for the Department of Commerce, co-founded the Alliance to End Biological Threats, and is a Lecturer at Stanford's Center for Biosecurity and Pandemic Resilience. She received her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and her B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University.

M.D., CEO & President

James J. Collins

Ph.D., Co-founder & Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Collins is the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science, a Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT, and a member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology faculty. He is also a core founding faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Between his three laboratories at MIT, the Wyss Institute, and the Broad Institute, he oversees the research of more than 30 postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. Collins’ numerous honors include a Rhodes Scholarship, a MacArthur Fellowship, and an NIH Director's Pioneer Award.

He is an elected member of all three national academies: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Medicine. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Inventors, and the World Academy of Sciences. Dr. Collins earned an AB in Physics from the College of the Holy Cross and a PhD in Medical Engineering from the University of Oxford. He has decades of experience in antibiotic discovery and the application of machine learning techniques in biotechnology.

His work has led to important discoveries related to how antibiotics kill bacteria, including research showing that many common classes of antibiotics induce bacterial cell death via a common “oxidative damage” pathway; the paper describing this is the most highly-cited antibiotics study of the last decade.

Ph.D., Co-founder & Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board

Jonathan M. Stokes

Ph.D., Co-Founder & Scientific Director

Dr. Stokes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, and directs Phare’s computational and experimental work. He was previously a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Collins Lab at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He received his BHSc in 2011, graduating summa cum laude, and his PhD in Antimicrobial Chemical Biology in 2016, both from McMaster University.

His research applies a combination of chemical biology and machine learning to develop novel antibacterial therapies with expanded capabilities over conventional antibiotics. Amongst his numerous antibiotic projects, he recently led the study published in Cell that resulted in the identification of antibiotic Halicin, a first new antibiotic scaffold discovery in 20+ years. This study shows how a trained deep neural network can predict antibiotic activity in molecules that are structurally different from known antibiotics, among which Halicin exhibits efficacy against broad-spectrum bacterial infections in mice.

Stokes is the recipient of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Master’s Award, the Colin James Lyne Lock Doctoral Award, and was ranked first of just 23 elite postdoctoral scholars to be awarded the prestigious Banting Fellowship.

Ph.D., Co-Founder & Scientific Director

Board of Directors

Managing Partner, The Bridgespan Group
Ph.D., Co-founder & Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board
Co-Managing Partner, The Rise Fund
phd, Chief Science Officer, Danaher
M.D., CEO & President
md, phd, Senior Vice President, Head of Immunology, CV & Fibrosis within Research & Early Development and Head of Translational Medicine, Bristol Myers Squibb
President/CEO, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Scientific Advisory Board

Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering and Science, a Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT and a member of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology faculty 
Professor of Biological Physics and heads the Laboratory of Self Replicating Matter in the Physics Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Delta Electronics Professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a faculty lead for the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (J-Clinic)
Distinguished Professor at McMaster University in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and member of the M.G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University
Presidential Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Microbiology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
John LaPorte Given Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Chair of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Associate professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School, and the director of the Infectious Disease Program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Thomas Siebel Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at MIT
CEO of BioInnovation Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark and Professor of Systems Biology at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
Professor of Microbiology at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, and Director of Scientific Affairs, Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership (GARDP)
Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery, McMaster University
Director- Institute for Infectious Disease Research and Professor - Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University
Meet the whole team

Let’s tackle this together.

If you're interested in partnering, joining our team or learning more, send us a message.
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