A Palo Alto–based startup wants to begin releasing iron particles into the exhaust stream of a shipping vessel crossing the ocean within the next 18 months.

Blue Dot Change hopes to determine whether the particles will accelerate the destruction of methane, one of the most powerful greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

It’s among a handful of small commercial ventures that are itching to test whether releasing similar particles could curb climate change. But little is known about other effects of releasing the particles, including potentially dangerous ones. Read the full story.

—James Temple

AI is dreaming up drugs that no one has ever seen. Now we’ve got to see if they work.

At 82 years old, with an aggressive form of blood cancer that six courses of chemotherapy had failed to eliminate, “Paul” appeared to be out of options. His doctors enrolled him in a trial testing a new technology that pairs individual patients with the drugs they need.

Two years on, Paul’s cancer was gone. The technology was developed by Exscientia, which is one of the hundreds of startups exploring the use of machine learning in pharmaceuticals, with the shared vision of using AI to make drug discovery faster and cheaper. 

AI is already changing how drugs are being made. Yet it is still early days for AI drug discovery— and there are a lot of companies making claims they can’t back up. Read the full story.

—Will Douglas Heaven