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Path BioAnalytics and Julia Computing Collaborate to Advance Precision Medicine and Drug Development for Cystic Fibrosis

23 Oct 2017 | Andrew Claster

Chapel Hill, NC - Path BioAnalytics (PBA) and Julia Computing today announced that they have entered into a research collaboration agreement to develop next-generation software supporting PBA’s Sphera organoid cell culture platform for precision medicine and drug development. The companies are focusing on applications in cystic fibrosis.

The companies bring together key domain knowledge and intellectual property to create a streamlined analysis pipeline that can be used to quantify drug response in organoid cultures in a high-throughput format.

“The software and analytical component of in/ex vitro assays is often overlooked. As a result, there are significant benefits that can be realized by adapting recent developments from other fields and integrating them with new cell culture systems and assays. PBA has developed proprietary analytics to maximize the value of its organoid platform, and is looking forward to further optimizing them with Julia, a high-level, high-performance dynamic programming language for numerical computing,” said Dr. John Mellnik, CEO of PBA. “Julia Computing will be a key partner as we seek to advance our precision medicine approach and accelerate the discovery, development and use of new medications for cystic fibrosis.”


Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a rare, life-shortening genetic disease affecting approximately 30,000 in the United States and 75,000 people world-wide. CF is caused by a defective or missing CFTR protein resulting from mutations in the CFTR gene. Children must inherit two defective CFTR genes — one from each parent — to have CF. There are approximately 2,000 known mutations in the CFTR gene. Some of these mutations, which can be determined by a genetic test, or genotyping test, lead to CF by creating non-working or too few CFTR proteins at the cell surface. The defective function or absence of CFTR protein results in poor flow of salt and water into and out of the cell in a number of organs. In the lungs, this leads to the buildup of abnormally thick, sticky mucus that can cause chronic lung infections and progressive lung damage in many patients that eventually leads to death. The median age of death is in the mid-to-late 20s.

Path BioAnalytics (PBA) is an emerging biotech company based in Chapel Hill, NC. The company is developing assays and databases for drug development and precision medicine by combining innovative epithelial cell culture technology with proprietary analytics. These technologies are based on over 15 years of federally-funded research and have been used by multiple corporate partners to test their drugs in a target population prior to starting clinical trials, providing critical data for more accurate go/no-go decision. The company’s initial focus is on cystic fibrosis, COPD and asthma. Additional information is available at

Julia is the fastest modern high performance open source computing language for data, analytics, algorithmic trading, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Julia combines the functionality and ease of use of Python, R, Matlab, SAS and Stata with the speed of C++ and Java. With more than 1 million downloads and +161% annual growth, Julia is one of the top programming languages developed on GitHub. Julia users, partners and employers hiring Julia programmers in 2017 include Amazon, Apple, BlackRock, Capital One, Citibank, Comcast, Disney, Facebook, Ford, Google, Grindr, IBM, Intel, KPMG, Microsoft, NASA, Oracle, PwC and Uber.

Julia Computing was founded in 2015 by the creators of the open source Julia language to develop products and provide support for businesses and researchers who use Julia. Additional information is available at

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