French Investor Leads €60M Financial Round for the Future of DNA Synthesis

Twist dna bioscience sequencing micrarray emily leproust

Twist Bioscience is a San Francisco Biotech accelerating science and innovation through rapid, high-quality DNA synthesis piece of tech. And now, Twist has completed a $61 million Series D round.

An improved silicon-based design compared to the traditional 96-well plates could do wonders for DNA synthesis, including major improvements in cost and time of the process. And the potential applications of synthetic DNA are vast, to include test cycles in personalized medicine, pharmaceuticals, sustainable chemical production, improved agriculture production, diagnostics, biodetection and data storage.

So this proprietary synthetic DNA manufacturing process from Twist features a 10,000-well silicon platform capable of producing synthetic biology tools, including genes, oligonucleotide pools and variant libraries. It could also potentially be used to produce synthetic RNA, which is a growing area of therapeutic R&D in Biotech. Read more about the tech on Wired.

The 10,000 Silicon-based platform. (Credit: Twist Bioscience / Weinberg-Clark Photography)

To date, Twist has shipped 65 million base pairs of DNA to more than 100 customers using its high-throughput gene fabrication platform. Now, in addition to this, Twist has made a 100 million base pair sale to the Boston Synbio start-up Ginkgo Bioworks.

Ginkgo uses such synthetic genetic material to engineer organisms (such as yeast) to produce novel compounds during fermentation – such as nylon (a great alternative to producing it from oil) or flavourings, fuels and fragrances etc. Another example is the US Giant Amyris, which was one of the first Biotechs to adopt Twist’s novel platform.

CEO of Twist Bioscience, Emily Leproust at SynBiobeta (Source: SynBioBeta)

And this is the basis of Twist’s business model; to produce DNA material quickly and as cheaply as possible, since so many Biotechs (such as Ginkgo) depend on disposable DNA to refine their research and product development. As Twist’s French CEO, Emily Leproust, explained:

In the past, the limitation has been how much DNA a company could afford, [so this Tech] is a new paradigm in synthetic biology, because we can explore more options than we ever could before

Investors in the series D financing round include the French-US Merieux Development and the US leader in Next Generation Sequencing (Illumina) amongst many others.

Indeed, it seems Twist has really turned some heads int the industry with their revolutionary tech (which will be undergoing a beta launch some time this quarter), and since the company’s founding in 2013, Twist Bioscience has raised a total of $133M.

And is it so surprising that a US start-up such as Twist has managed to attract investors from the other side of the Atlantic? Perhaps not, particularly given Leproust’s connections to the French Biotech Industry.




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