Harvard geneticist George Church cofounds a biotech firm


The woolly mammoth first commanded George Church’s attention when he was a child attending the world’s fair in 1964.

Church stared in awe at an animatronic version of the hairy mammal, he recalled in a recent interview. Now, more than half a century later, the 67-year-old biologist is on a quest to resurrect the extinct species.

The research is getting a boost, as a new company is working with Church’s lab at Harvard on the project. The biotech company, called Colossal, launched on Monday with $15 million in seed funding and 19 full-time employees. Colossal, which counts Church as a cofounder, is based in Dallas but plans to open an office in Austin and its own lab in Boston.

While the research is a long way from reality, Church said the project’s biggest challenge since its beginnings in the mid-2000s had been funding — until now.

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