Apr 28, 2022 - News

Mammoth de-extinction firm to spin off Austin software product

A wooly mammoth on display.

A reproduction of a woolly mammoth on display in France in 2015. Photo: Jean-Marc ZAORSKI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

An effort to revivify the long-extinct woolly mammoth could spin off Austin-engineered software as the centerpiece of a new company as soon as this summer.

Driving the news: Ben Lamm, the CEO of Colossal Biosciences, a biotech startup dedicated to bringing back the mammoth, told Axios that the company's roughly 12-person Austin office is building "monetizable technology."

What they're saying: "This summer we're spinning our first software product, a computational biology platform that helps with genomics research," Lamm told Axios. "We're spinning that software out, the entire company out."

  • Lamm said the software will have cancer research and drug discovery applications.
  • The new company will likely be based in Austin, he said.

The big picture: A successful software launch could be a huge windfall for a company that says it wants to "jumpstart nature's ancestral heartbeat."

Flashback: In March, the six-month-old company announced a $60 million round of investment, led by the producer of the Batman film "The Dark Knight."

  • Of note: Austin gaming designer Richard Garriott serves on the company's advisory board — and the company has raised at least $75 million overall.

Flashing way, way back: The woolly mammoth, a slow-moving, cold-resistant herbivore, went extinct about 4,000 years ago, due in part to a shifting climate and a new predator: humans.

  • Mammoths could weigh six tons and grow to 11 feet tall, with long, curled tusks.
  • They're nearly identical, genetically, to Asian elephants, and Colossal's team is trying to bridge the 0.4% genetic gap through genome editing.

What's next: Lamm said Colossal, which also has offices in Dallas and Boston, is shooting to create a baby woolly mammoth in the next four to six years.


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