Twist, Desktop Genetics team up to pair CRISPR design and DNA synthesis services

Twist Bioscience

Twist Bioscience has teamed up with Desktop Genetics (DTG). The alliance marries Twist’s DNA synthesis capabilities to DTG’s synthetic guide RNA (sgRNA) CRISPR design software, a combination the partners think will simplify the process of setting up and sourcing materials for gene editing experiments.

DTG, which, like Twist, lists Illumina ($ILMN) among its investors, will support this agenda by computationally designing sgRNA libraries suitable for use in different types of CRISPR genome-editing applications across various cell lines. The sgRNA libraries, which DTG is tailoring to the genotype of the cell line under investigation, will be available through the company’s CRISPR/Cas9 experiment support software, Deskgen. The system will integrate with Twist, which will synthesize and ship guide libraries at the request of Deskgen users.

The alliance is in keeping with Twist’s recent efforts to transition into a commercial-stage company by building out its e-commerce business, an agenda that gained momentum in January when it took over Israeli life science software player Genome Compiler. While the Genome Compiler takeover gave Twist access to software and programmers to support the establishment of its own e-commerce site, the DTG alliance connects it to a new set of potential customers through a third-party platform.

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“This agreement augments our acquisition of Genome Compiler by partnering design expertise for CRISPR workflows with our expertise in synthesis of high quality oligonucleotide pools, which in turn facilitates cutting-edge research in biology, biotechnology and personalized medicine,” Twist CEO Emily Leproust said in a statement.

For DTG, which lists Editas Medicine ($EDIT) among its customers, the deal gives it another connection to the West Coast biotech scene. The London, U.K.-based CRISPR software shop also has a partnership with Transcriptic, the robotic cloud laboratory company. While the Twist alliance allows Deskgen users to order materials they need to run their own experiments, the Transcriptic collaboration made DTG's software part of the process of outsourcing work to the robotic lab.

- read the release

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