The COVID-19 pandemic put next-generation sequencing technology to the test—and GenapSys’ portable sequencer, for one, passed with flying colors.
More than a year after being tapped by the Chinese government’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention to help track the coronavirus’ many strains and mutations, GenapSys has received yet another vote of confidence for its sequencing platform, in the form of a $70 million funding round.
The series D came from backers including Farallon Capital Management, Soleus Capital and several other new investors. It will support further development of GenapSys’ sequencing technology, which aims to offer a less expensive, more accessible alternative to other next-generation sequencing platforms.
“This latest round of funding is a testament to the strength and momentum of GenapSys’ technology. The world is just beginning to unlock the immense potential of genomic sequencing, and this capital will help fuel GenapSys’ next stage of growth,” Hesaam Esfandyarpour, the company’s founder and chairman, said in a release.
GenapSys’ sequencer weighs in at less than 10 pounds and has a footprint about the size of a standard sheet of paper. Inside, it runs on wholly electrical sequencing chips that can be easily swapped out to scale up the number of analyses performed.
The company’s standard, commercially available G3 chip is equipped with 16 million sensors, allowing it to perform up to 13 million reads over the course of 24 hours, with an average read length of at least 150 base pairs and an accuracy level of more than 80%.
Using a single G3 chip, the technology can be used for small genome and small RNA sequencing, targeted mRNA and single cell assay sequencing and gene editing validation. If a cluster of chips are used, however, those applications expand to include exome and transcriptome sequencing, as well as single cell gene expression measurements.
GenapSys began taking U.S. orders for its platform—which is priced at just under $10,000—in late 2019, when it simultaneously unveiled the tabletop sequencer and closed its $90 million series C funding round led by Foresite Capital.
That fundraising was quickly followed by another infusion of $75 million. The early 2020 capital came in the form of debt financing from Oxford Finance and was intended to help GenapSys scale up its global launch as the company inked more than two dozen distribution deals throughout the Asia-Pacific market.
Shortly after, GenapSys formed yet another partnership, this one with Twist Bioscience, to bring synthetic DNA maker Twist’s target enrichment and library preparation tools to GenapSys’ platform. The companies combined their technologies in hopes of supporting COVID tracking, drug discovery and development and the creation of tests for cancer detection and monitoring.