DNA software startup Desktop Genetics scores £375K in early funding

Less than a year after launching operations at Google's ($GOOG) London campus, Desktop Genetics has rounded up resources to take its software, described as a "DNA search engine," to the next level. The bioinformatics startup has reeled in £275,000 from equity investors and a £100,000 grant from the U.K. government for a total of £375,000 ($581,000).

Desktop plans to plow much of the money into advancing its flagship AutoClone software. The software allows researchers to design genes, using the building blocks of life to engineer new genetic materials for manufacturing proteins or other products. In scientific circles, engineering genes like this is called synthetic biology, and some investors believe it could hold the future to biopharmaceuticals, energy and agriculture.

AutoClone also enables users to manage DNA sequence information and sharing to streamline the process of building new genetic tools.

The versatility and power of the software has attracted a variety of backers. The equity investors include Boundary Capital, Executive Technologies, Michael Martin and Richard Youngman of Anvil Partners, AbCam CEO Jonathan Milner and Horizon Discovery CEO Darrin Disley, who has also become nonexecutive chairman. The grant portion of the financing comes from the Technology Strategy Board, which fuels emerging businesses in the U.K.

"We're delighted to be investing in DeskGen, which is positioned to revolutionize the way DNA is built," Boundary Capital's Dan Somers said in a statement. "The availability of high-quality DNA constructs is becoming essential as research efforts to unlock the potential of the human genome project increase at a near exponential rate."

Led by CEO and founder Riley Doyle, Desktop plans to beta-test a cloud version of AutoClone later this year. The company plans to initially focus on sales in the U.S. and Europe.

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