Evonetix granted patent for DNA data storage and retrieval method

Sep 24, 2021

Cambridge, UK 23rd September 2021 – EVONETIX LTD (‘Evonetix’), the synthetic biology company developing a desktop platform for scalable, high-fidelity and rapid gene synthesis, today announced it has been granted patent GB 2576304 for its novel method for DNA data storage and retrieval.

  • Unique approach harnesses Evonetix’s thermally-controlled DNA-on-chip technology to simplify writing, accessing and reading stored DNA
  • Demonstrates potential application of Evonetix’s technology beyond gene synthesis

DNA has significant potential as a long-term data storage media due to the information density that it can achieve in comparison with tape-based storage. However, the use of DNA as a storage medium is hampered by complexities associated with its writing, storage, access and reading. These challenges create difficulty and costs that negate the benefits offered in storage density. Evonetix’s approach enables non-destructive data retrieval from its chip surfaces, overcoming one of the major challenges of using DNA for data storage.

Evonetix’s novel, DNA-on-chip platform uses tens of thousands of individually controlled ‘virtual wells’ to enable either de-novo DNA synthesis or immobilisation of pre-synthesised DNA for storage in-situ until data retrieval is required. Individual sequences can then be read through thermal cycling of individual virtual wells, first to melt DNA stored there and then to enable polymerase-based amplification of the single stranded DNA remaining on the site. Each virtual well can retain tens of millions of DNA strands, with sub-populations individually “read” through use of different amplification primers. Amplified DNA is released into solution for collection and downstream sequencing while a final primer extension step restores the DNA to its original double stranded format for ongoing storage. In this way, we enable high density storage with a simple, non-destructive, read method.

Dr Matt Hayes, Chief Technology Officer at Evonetix, said: “With DNA data storage forecast to grow rapidly in the next decade, and an increasing move towards digitisation, this patent is a major milestone for Evonetix. Accurate DNA synthesis has a multitude of applications, and we’re extremely pleased to enable data storage solutions in addition to our core focus on synthetic biology. Our growing patent portfolio underlines our strategy to create shareholder value, ensuring that we have freedom to operate in key markets.”

For further information, please contact:

For Evonetix

Lorna Cuddon, Zyme Communications, Tel: +44(0)7811996942, Email: lorna.cuddon@zymecommunications.com

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Notes to Editors

About Evonetix Ltd – www.evonetix.com

Evonetix is reimagining biology by developing a radically different approach to gene synthesis – a highly parallel desktop platform to synthesise DNA at unprecedented accuracy and scale. The company’s platform will place DNA synthesis in the hands of every researcher and change how DNA is accessed, made and used. This new paradigm in gene synthesis will facilitate and enable the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology.

The proprietary Evonetix approach utilises a silicon chip, made by MEMS processing, that integrates physics with biology, and controls the synthesis of DNA at many thousands of independently controlled reaction sites or ‘pixels’ on the chip surface in a highly parallel fashion. The approach is compatible with both chemical and enzymatic DNA synthesis. Following synthesis, strands are assembled on-chip into double-stranded DNA in a process that identifies and removes errors, providing accuracy that is several orders of magnitude better than the conventional approach.

The Evonetix DNA writer will be a desktop device, available to every researcher, and providing scalable, accurate DNA synthesis to enable biological systems to be engineered with unprecedented accuracy and scale – this is third-generation DNA synthesis.

About synthetic biology

With the huge increase in DNA sequence information available to mankind over the past ten years, there now exists an unprecedented opportunity to, for example, engineer metabolic pathways and organisms, improve industrial processes, create new processes and engineer genomes with new or improved traits. This opportunity, known as synthetic biology, is estimated to grow rapidly over the coming years, reaching $40 billion in value in the mid-2020s. Synthetic biology will have a massive impact across many industries and will be fundamental to helping us manage the Earth’s resources.

However, only a highly disruptive technology is likely to achieve the significant improvements in DNA synthesis required to enable and facilitate these opportunities. Evonetix believes that, by providing high-fidelity DNA at scale, without the need for post-synthesis error correction, it will be well placed to capture a significant part of the growing multibillion-dollar synthetic biology opportunity.

For more information about Evonetix, please visit: www.evonetix.com.