University of Toronto startup Structura Biotechnology and Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science are collaborating to make available a new single particle analysis software solution.

New Embedded CryoSPARC Live software to be made available by Structura and Thermo Fisher and designed to integrate with Thermo Fisher technology

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, and Structura Biotechnology Inc., a leading provider of cryo-EM data analysis software, today announced a collaboration to make available a new single particle analysis software solution, a version of Structura’s CryoSPARC Live, that is designed to integrate with Thermo Fisher’s Smart EPU software and cryo-transmission electron microscope (cryo-TEM) technology. The new solution, Embedded CryoSPARC Live, will be offered as a subscription.

Embedded CryoSPARC Live will enable cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) users of all experience levels to obtain high-quality data while reducing the time it takes to transform raw data into high-quality 3D protein structures from days to hours.

Embedded CryoSPARC Live will offer real-time cryo-EM data analysis, including pre-processing (motion correction and CTF estimation), particle picking and extraction, streaming 2D classification, ab-initio 3D reconstruction, and streaming 3D refinement. This workflow will enable users to make decisions to optimize data acquisition and can be used as an input for Smart EPU plugins, which automatically adjust EPU data acquisition parameters in real-time.

“We’re thrilled to make this announcement with Structura Biotechnology as we work together to make cryo-EM more accessible, productive and easy to use,” said Trisha Rice, vice president and general manager of life sciences at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “This solution represents a major step forward in our plans to deliver a fully automated and intelligent cryo-EM imaging platform.”

“We’re excited to collaborate with Thermo Fisher Scientific and deliver a powerful solution that will help users in research and commercial settings move toward a more optimized and high-throughput cryo-EM workflow,” said Ali Punjani, CEO at Structura Biotechnology.

Structura was spun out of the University of Toronto’s department of computer science. Punjani, who is also a U of T PhD candidate, initiated the software development while working in the lab of Prof. David Fleet (MSc 1984, PhD 1991). 

Since its inception, Structura has been able to access vital resources from across the U of T entrepreneurship ecosystem, including the Innovation and Partnerships Office, the Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab (DCSIL), the Centre for Entrepreneurship (formerly the Impact Centre) and the University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) program. Structura has also taken advantage of the valuable office space at U of T’s ONRamp co-working facilities and the Banting Institute, centrally located in Toronto’s innovation corridor. 

“Questions about legal, hiring, customer service, pitch decks, sales strategy, all of those things were done early on with the help of campus accelerators,” says Punjani. He also credits UTEST with playing a major role by providing in-kind contributions, initial seed funding and ongoing mentorship and feedback.

Structura took initial seed funding from UTEST and MaRS Innovation in 2017. Since then, they have grown entirely on their own with the support of customers and a global community of researchers that rely on their software.