London’s Desktop Genetics and their remote CRISPR and digital genetics platform has caught the eye of US Illumina – the US Competitor to German Giant QIAGEN in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)…
Desktop Genetics (DeskGen) is an online service that researchers can use to design CRISPR gene editing experiments, purchase reagents and find commercial entities to execute those experiments – (and obtain results) without them having their own specialist laboratories.
The startup was founded in 2012 by three young scientists from University of Cambridge, who were frustrated in their way of managing Gene editing research. Since then, DeskGen has raised an initial fund of €500K (phwoar) in 2014, and in September announced the closure of a €1.87M financing round!
Illumina on the other hand, is a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of life science tools and integrated systems for large-scale analysis of genetics. Based in San Diego (US), Illumina’s market cap boasts a huge €24Bn and this biotech has been listed #35 on Forbes‘ ranking of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.
DeskGen is already working with several recognized leaders in the gene editing field, including Editas Medicine, Transcriptic (the cloud laboratory company) and enEvolv. Among the investors are really high-class British bio-entrepreneurs, including Darrin Disley, Founder & CEO of Horizon Discovery (200-employee Biotech expert in gene editing tools).
Others include Jonathan Milner, Deputy Chairman and Founder of Abcam (one of the leading antibody-provider worldwide) and Martin Murphy, CEO of Syncona Partners (the investment arm of the heavily funded Wellcome Trust).
The DeskGen service walks customers through every step of the CRISPR gene editing process with a suite of lab-validated algorithms derived from leading peer-reviewed research. Its customers include leading genomic research centers, academic institutions, hospitals as well as pharmaceutical, biotechnology, agrigenomics, commercial molecular diagnostic, and consumer genomics groups.
This combined funding is being used to continue developing Desktop Genetics’ proprietary DeskGen genome editing software platform and core CRISPR algorithms. Illumina’s contribution will be used to particularly focus on the development of DeskGen’s integration with NGS pipelines.
Nicholas Naclerio, SVP of Corporate Venture and Development at Illumina further compounded the game-changing role CRISPR has played in the bioinformatics field and the appeal of a digital CRISPR interface service like DeskGen…
CRISPR is becoming increasingly important for NGS applications, and we are pleased to support DTG in executing their vision to build this market.“
As we’ve written before, digital start-ups are revolutionising the biotech industry, and it is, therefore, no surprise that small companies such as Desktop Genetics (who are hiring, by the way) are attracting such huge players in the Bioinformatics and NGS field.
Perhaps this investment by Illumina is the helping hand needed to really propel Desktop Genetics to the forefront of the NGS industry, and prepare them for a global expansion..