How a Hollywood VFX business built a tool to fight COVID-19

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Culver City-based Zoic Studios, which produces visual effects for film and TV, sees growth in its Zoic Labs, which brings VFX skills to COVID-19 research.

Krogan was publishing a paper on its research in Nature on April 30, leaving O’Neal and his team about 30 days to create a digital tool.

Drawing upon his years of experience working on movies, O’Neal honed in on the story researchers wanted to tell: a connection between the human proteins that the coronavirus latches onto, and drugs that have been used to treat similar viruses. “Once you hook into one particular protein, you can then follow all this information based on that protein and not have to go look it up individually in other sources,” O’Neal said. “It’s all linked together.”

Zoic Labs launched seven years ago as an outgrowth of Zoic Studios, a visual effects company that started in Culver City in 2002 and is known for its work on TV shows such as “Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead” and “Fargo.” As the Hollywood business grew, the founders realized they could apply the same tools to other industries.

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