A Startup's Success: A Mathematica-Based Research Workflow at Work

Brian Frezza, Co-founder & Co-CEO, Emerald Therapeutics

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The Mathematica Edge
    • Provides an integrated platform for all tasks in the company's antiviral research workflow, including direct control of advanced lab equipment
    • Features flexible, easy-to-use programming language and styles
    • Powers rapid development with trusted results that can be easily shared using interactive CDF reports
"We're able to work in this really coherent fashion where when any one of us makes progress, the whole group makes progress."


From the beginning, the founders of the biotechnology startup Emerald Therapeutics wanted to develop an ideal research platform that would allow for lab and process automation during experiments as well as easy communication of their findings.


Mathematica provides all the tools the Emerald founders needed to carry out their vision. About the decision to use Mathematica, Co-founder and Co-CEO Brian Frezza says, "It struck the perfect balance of being powerful enough and versatile enough to allow our engineering team to develop sophisticated software within, yet the language is easy enough to learn that it's accessible to our chemists and biologists to use as a primary means of keeping a daily lab notebook."

Emerald's team of scientists and engineers have a shared code base in Mathematica, which allows them to use one platform for carrying out all the tasks in their antiviral research workflow—from developing functions to processing and storing data, designing and managing experiments, presenting findings, and even controlling lab instruments.

Having Mathematica as the core platform means the Emerald team can trust the repeatability and accuracy of their results and rapidly grow their experiment base. "We can keep handling larger experiments and we can do more complicated things each day because we're building on a base that is incredibly reliable and precise.... You need that level of reproducibility in biology. You need something that can handle all the quantitative detail in a way that's still accessible and manipulatable to the scientists."


For Frezza, having one language that both the engineers and scientists can share and perfect is extremely valuable, especially as a startup in the pharmaceutical industry. "The way in which we're able to build is just incredible. Our burn rate is incredibly low for a startup because the number of people we need to do what we're doing, which is incredibly ambitious, it scales incredibly well when you have a tool like that."

In addition, the team's discoveries can be easily and interactively communicated to investors, partners, and vendors using Mathematica's Computable Document Format, which Frezza says is "fantastic for external communication of data."

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