Bicycle Therapeutics Prepares for an Accelerated Future

Bicycle Therapeutics has implemented Geneious Biologics, an enterprise software solution for screening antibodies and antibody-like constructs, to support its growth from innovative biotech start-up into a full-fledged, integrated pharmaceutical company.

Founded in 2009, Bicycle Therapeutics is pioneering first-in-class therapeutics to treat cancer and other debilitating diseases based on its proprietary bicyclic peptides (Bicycle®) platform.

In June 2017 Bicycle Therapeutics closed a $52 million Series B funding round, fueling a change in the pace and scale of research and development at the Cambridge (U.K.) based company.

Bicycle Therapeutics has also entered key partnerships to advance the application of its Bicycle® technology. The company is currently collaborating with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) on oncology programs. It is working in respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic disease areas with AstraZeneca and closed a partnership deal with Bioverativ in 2017 to develop and commercialize innovative therapies for haemophilia and other rare blood disorders.

Growth Challenges: Ensuring Data Integrity and Accuracy at Scale

As Bicycle Therapeutics expands the scope of its Bicycle® platform and scales up operations to support its internal and collaborative programs, the company has faced a clear and growing need for software that will automate its core Bicycle® screening and analysis processes.

Bicycle Therapeutics’ unique workflow utilizes both Sanger and pyrosequencing data. The complexity associated with using multiple data formats has led to challenges in curating data, validating its accuracy and ensuring consistency.

Systems put in place during early stages of Bicycle Therapeutics’ journey have struggled to keep up with increased throughput and made it difficult for scientists to interrogate mission critical data effectively.

“We are evolving from a cottage industry to an industrialized process, part of our challenge is ensuring our data maintains integrity and consistency with that evolution. We need software that can work with our unique Bicycle® platform and take our data quality to the next level. Working with Geneious Biologics to apply this application to the analysis of our unique data sets has been enabling for Bicycle Therapeutics and I can see how this could drastically improve speed and accuracy in other areas of drug development.”

Michael Skynner, Ph.D., Vice President of Operations at Bicycle Therapeutics

Solutions: Future Proofing on a Configurable and Integrated Software Platform

Faced with rapid growth, Bicycle Therapeutics knew it needed a functional, integrated software solution to meet its unique needs and bespoke processes. In 2010, the company deployed Geneious Prime, to handle part of its workflow, and quickly adopted the software’s user friendly interface and functionality.

Geneious software was crucial in helping Bicycle Therapeutics work with Sanger sequencing data but the company realized, for handling more bespoke elements of Bicycle® screening and analysis, there was no solution on the market that wholly suited their needs.

During detailed scientific discussions with the Geneious application team, Bicycle Therapeutics discovered the functionality they needed in Geneious Biologics, a highly scalable cloud-based software-as-a-service for annotation and screening of antibody sequences. Impressed with Geneious Biologics’ ability to be quickly configured to meet their highly custom needs, Bicycle Therapeutics decided to make the software an integral component of their current and future computing infrastructure.

“Often you have to shoehorn a software solution into your process. The adaptability of Geneious Biologics was something we liked a lot. Once we knew what we could do with Geneious Biologics there was no other viable option.”

Liuhong Chen, Ph.D., Discovery Biology Team Leader at Bicycle Therapeutics.

Results: Saving Time for Science

Time saved and improved collaboration are the immediate results Bicycle Therapeutics has experienced with Geneious Biologics. Automating the screening, annotation and analysis of Bicycle® sequences has freed scientists to spend less time managing data and more time focused on science.

Geneious Biologics has significantly reduced the need to manually curate sequence data in spreadsheet software or convert it into different formats for sharing and archiving. Geneious Biologics enables scientists to collaborate on experiments in a unified, central, secure, cloud-hosted database. This removes significant duplication of effort. Researchers are able to interrogate sequence data meaningfully, and are more confident in the integrity of the data.

“Companies of our size and nature appreciate working with companies of the same mindset. The advantage with Geneious Biologics is – it is scientists talking to scientists.”

Michael Skynner, Ph.D., Vice President of Operations at Bicycle Therapeutics

The Future: More Data, More Opportunities

Over time, as Bicycle Therapeutics does more with Geneious Biologics, the company expects to measure and quantify further process improvements. While Bicycle Therapeutics generates a lot of data, at any given time the company’s core analysis is focused on a small part of that information. The rest is archived and stored.

Using Geneious Biologics’ cloud-hosted data management platform, Bicycle Therapeutics hopes, in the future, to be able to to go back through years of accumulated data and extract new groundbreaking discoveries.