How Parallel Bio aims to turn drug development on its head

In 2021, two scientists founded Parallel Bio to harness the human body’s ability to fight disease using the immune system. The Cambridge, Massachusetts–based company is developing a platform for drug discovery and development that replicates human immune systems at population scale.

The company has grand ambitions. “Nearly 95% of drugs that make it to human trials fail even though they worked on animals first,” said CEO Robert DiFazio. “Our goal is to flip that on its head — we want to turn that 95% failure rate into a 95% success rate.”

The company’s co-founders, DiFazio and Chief Scientific Officer Juliana Hilliard, were roommates in San Francisco when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. DiFazio has a Ph.D. in immunology of infectious disease and ran drug discovery programs at Stanford. Hilliard has a masters in molecular bioengineering from the Technical University, Dresden and had worked as the staff scientist, organoid deve…

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