Evonetix raises $30 million USD (£23 million GBP)
- Series B investment led by west-coast investor Foresite Capital, with all existing investors participating in the round
- Funds will be used to accelerate development of the Company’s gene synthesis platform, through to introduction of first products
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 02 March 2020 – EVONETIX LTD (‘Evonetix’), the synthetic biology company developing a desktop platform for scalable, high-fidelity and rapid gene synthesis, today announced the successful close of its Series B funding. The Company has raised $30 million USD (£23 million GBP) in this round, which was led by new investor Foresite Capital. Existing investors, Draper Esprit, DCVC (Data Collective), the Morningside group, Providence Investment Company, Cambridge Consultants Ltd, Rising Tide Fund, and Civilization Ventures, also all participated in the round.
The new funding will be used to accelerate internal technology development, including the integration of Evonetix’s technology to enable the synthesis of DNA on a chip. The investment will fund the Company through to the introduction of its desktop DNA platform which, once fully developed, will facilitate and enable the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology, with application across industries including healthcare, pharma, biotech, food and agriculture and data storage. The investment will also support the Company’s significant recruitment plans, as it continues to increase headcount across scientific, operational and commercial staff located at Evonetix’s state-of-the-art facility at Coldhams Business Park, Cambridge, UK.
Evonetix was founded in 2015, to develop technology that enables the parallel synthesis of DNA on silicon arrays, to facilitate the fast-emerging field of synthetic biology, where there is increasing demand for high-throughput and highly accurate DNA synthesis. The Company was founded by Cambridge Consultants and Providence Investment Company Limited, and went on to close $12.3 million USD Series A funding in 2018, in addition to a grant from Innovate UK. The close of the Series B round brings the total funds raised by the Company to $46 million to date. The Company has the backing of the technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist Hermann Hauser.
The Company’s technology utilises a silicon chip, made by microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) processing, that controls the synthesis of DNA at many thousands of independently controlled reaction sites or ‘pixels’ on the chip surface in a highly parallel fashion. Following synthesis, strands are assembled on-chip into double-stranded DNA in a process that identifies and removes errors, enabling accuracy, scale and speed that is several orders of magnitude better than conventional approaches.
Dr Tim Brears, Evonetix CEO, said: “The backing of both our existing and new investors will enable us to fast track development, testing and delivery of our highly parallel desktop platform, which will be available to every researcher to accelerate their ability to use biology on a scale not possible with existing approaches.”
Jim Tananbaum, CEO and Managing Director at Foresite Capital, said: “Evonetix is developing a desktop, short latency solution to synthesise DNA. We are delighted to support the team in their mission to make biological engineering as accessible and widespread as next-generation sequencing.”
Vishal Gulati, Venture Partner, Draper Esprit, added: “The next set of breakthroughs in healthcare and synthetic biology will come from technologies that can go beyond reading DNA to writing it. Evonetix is leveraging the UK’s strength in DNA research to build this unique, ground-breaking DNA synthesis platform. We’re excited to welcome Foresite Capital, one of the world’s leading life-sciences investors, to support this Company to achieve the next stage of its growth and look forward to working closely with this talented team.”
Armen Vidian, Evonetix Board member and Partner at DCVC, said: “DCVC is pleased to continue its commitment to synthetic biology with its renewed investment in Evonetix. As demand grows to use synthetic biology for everything from sustaining agriculture to creating precision medicines and synthetic fuels, Evonetix will be well-positioned to meet those more complex needs with highly accurate, high throughput, long-strand DNA synthesis.”
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Notes to Editors
About Evonetix Ltd
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.
For further information, see www.evonetix.com
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.