Cambrian raises $10M for DNA printing tech used by GSK

Proponents of DNA printing have heralded it as a way to do everything from bringing alien life back from Mars to delivering vaccines in the event of a pandemic. And the technology has attracted GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Roche ($RHHBY), both of which have taken an interest in Cambrian Genomics.

San Francisco, CA-based Cambrian is best known as the company behind the glowing plants that got banned from Kickstarter--and made headlines this week for a probiotic to prevent vaginal yeast infections--but its technology has also attracted Big Pharma. GlaxoSmithKline is already working with the startup and Roche is considering entering into a similar relationship, VentureBeat reports. The DNA printing technology has applications in small molecule production and screening.

Cambrian CEO Austen Heinz

"We're helping them make drugs. DNA can be used for every part of the process," Cambrian CEO Austen Heinz said. The interest of the likes of GSK and Roche helped Cambrian raise almost $10 million this week from 127 investors, including big names in tech such as the founders of Cloudera and Yammer. Cambrian is yet to disclose how it will spend the money, which represents a major step up in its financial clout. "[We'll] print more DNA," Heinz said.

Big Pharma hookups are just one way Cambrian plans to use its technology. The firm has also created an incubator to support startups that want to build products based on DNA printing, such as the probiotic to prevent vaginal yeast infections. Cambrian is providing the startups with equipment and workspace. If the startups succeed, Cambrian will benefit from the expansion of the DNA printing market and could also make money by investing in the companies it hosts.

- read the VentureBeat article