Synthego has emerged from stealth mode equipped with guide RNA products for use in CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering. The company, which was founded by ex-SpaceX computer engineers, is using automation to deliver synthetic guide RNA products at a cost, speed and quality it claims sets it apart from the competition.
Redwood City, CA-based Synthego is building its business upon CRISPRevolution, a portfolio of guide RNA products for use in genome editing. Other, larger organizations, such as GE Life Sciences ($GE), already offer CRISPR guide RNA, but Synthego is claiming it can undercut the competition in terms of speed and cost while achieving cutting efficiency of up to 90%. Synthego’s basic CRISPR RNA kit costs $79 for enough material for 10 to 20 transfections and ships in three to 5 days.
To achieve these costs and timelines, ex-SpaceX computer engineers Michael and Paul Dabrowski, who list stints at now-defunct sequencing startup Halcyon Molecular on their résumés, have worked with recruits from firms including Bio-Rad Laboratories ($BIO) to build software-enabled, automated production workflows.
“Synthego is the merger of biology and engineering to create a well-oiled genome engineering solutions company,” Synthego CEO and Cofounder Paul Dabrowski said in a statement. “Our platform minimizes the variables and risks in biological research by automating workflows, controlling quality, scaling for massive experiments and reducing cost structures.”
Dabrowski and his collaborators have persuaded Founders Fund, Menlo Ventures and WI Harper Group to invest in their plans. Founders Fund, Peter Thiel’s investment shop, also invested in Halcyon Molecular, which went from talking up $100, 10-minute genome sequencing in 2009 to shutting its doors for the last time in 2012.
Synthego revealed $8.3 million in financing from unidentified investors in a SEC filing in 2013 and has quietly topped up its coffers since then. "The company has closed a number of smaller, private rounds with the latest in early 2016," Dabrowski told FierceBiotechIT. Now, with Synthego exiting stealth, Dabrowski is talking to investors once again. "The company will be raising a larger equity round in the fall of 2016," he said.
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