Our Investment to Enable the Synthesis of DNA on a Chip – Evonetix Raises $24 Million for Desktop Gene Synthesis Technology
By Brent MacDonald – Partner at Rising Tide
Some of the most difficult problems in the world could be solved through synthetic biology, but to go forward more quickly, gene synthesis needs to be improved.
Evonetix completes an oversubscribed $24 million financing round, extending its total Series B funding to over $54 million.
By creating a highly parallel desktop platform to synthesize DNA at an unprecedented accuracy, scale, and speed, Evonetix is rethinking biology by taking a fundamentally different approach to gene synthesis. The Company's platform will provide any researcher access to DNA synthesis, the biological procedure that produces a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecule, and alter how DNA is accessible, produced, and used. Or, to put it another way, a company called Evonetix, based in Cambridge, UK, is creating a new paradigm for gene creation.
The difficulty in the synthetic biology field has historically been the large-scale production of "high-fidelity DNA," which can be easily manufactured and used to test and build novel synthetic biology systems. In order to enable pharmaceutical corporations, academic institutions, research facilities, and other significant industry players to test new chemicals quickly and successfully, Evonetix is developing this very architecture. Utilization scenarios include drug discovery (antibody screening), therapy development (CAR-T: cells are modified to recognize cancer cells in order to more effectively target and destroy them), synthetic circuits (programmable microbes for detection and delivery of antibiotics in infectious disease), and bioproduction. Applications of this technology span a variety of vertical markets, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, biotech, food and agriculture, and data storage.
Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) processing is used to create the silicon chip used by Evonetix, which uses many thousands of independently controlled reaction sites, or "pixels," to regulate the synthesis of DNA in a highly parallel manner. This works with both enzymatic and chemical DNA synthesis. After synthesis, strands are put together into double-stranded DNA on a chip using a procedure that detects and eliminates errors, enabling accuracy, scalability, and speed that are orders of magnitude better than those possible with traditional methods. Additionally, thanks to the anticipated enormous increase in DNA sequence information that has become available over the past decade, there is now a chance to engineer metabolic pathways and organisms, improve industrial processes, create new processes, engineer genomes with new and improved traits, and use DNA as a medium for data storage, all under the leadership of Evonetix.
Why We Are Excited:
The ability to create modified, recombinant, and whole new DNA sequences without the need for a template is just one benefit of gene synthesis. Sequences of all kinds can be created, which is helpful for research purposes. For Evonetix, its desktop DNA synthesis platform will quickly prototype biological designs by producing high-fidelity DNA at scale. Its technique will allow for the creation of complete metabolic pathways on a chip. Additionally, there is a chance that ultimately the manufactured DNA may take the place of current data storage techniques, such as servers, hard disks, and memory sticks. Some of the primary secular tailwinds driving the firm forward include the decreasing cost of genetic sequencing, down to roughly $1,000 from $95 million, and the increased public awareness/experience of the benefits of genetic sequencing. The global gene synthesis market is expected to reach $13.8 billion in 2024 and $36 billion in 2027.
The Evonetix technical team has decades of experience creating automated systems with high integrity. This elite group, which consists of biologists, physicists, chemists, and engineers, brings together the necessary skills. The additional $24 million Series B investment will allow Evonetix to continue developing its semiconductor chips to commercial scale and expand the capabilities of its binary assembly technology gene assembly to produce precise, gene-length DNA in a tabletop device. Evonetix has raised over $65 million to date. Rising Tide is pleased to have been an early investor in this new type of gene synthesis technology, having made its first initial investment in Evonetix in 2017.
Finally, A Company Dedicated to Help Solve Some of the
Biggest Problems Faced by Our Planet Today!
Read the full funding press release here.
For more information, view the video here.