Battelle to Develop Biological Threat Assessment Software Under IARPA Program

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has selected Battelle to create a software platform that can help thwart development of synthetic biological threats.

Battelle said Tuesday it will develop the threat assessment platform in support of IARPA’s Functional Genomic and Computational Assessment of Threats program that aims to counter various threats from biotechnological advancements.

Ginkgo Bioworks, One Codex and Twist Bioscience will collaborate with Battelle on the Fun GCAT program to merge computational approaches into a software tool that can be applied in real-world scenarios.

The resulting tool will be used to evaluate the threat risks of future genetic sequences, predict unknown sequences and categorize them based on potential harm using predictive algorithms.

Trevor Petrel, research leader at Battelle, said the exponential growth of genetic engineering and the accessibility of biological tools will require organizations to consider updating conventional biosecurity measures to keep up with the pace of such technological development.

The Battelle-led team also sees potential applications of threat assessment software in predictive health and medical countermeasures development efforts.

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