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21 November, 2017 - 12:37 By Tony Quested

DNA sequencing company takes funding haul to £21.3m

Base4 Innovation Cameron Frayling

A rising star of the DNA sequencing technology world is scaling rapidly from its Cambridge base.

Base4 Innovation has just closed a £5 million funding round – its largest to date – led by Longwall Ventures and has now raised £21.3m in total.

The company specialises in single molecule DNA sequencing. The new money will be used to expand the current team and increase lab space, facilitating the continued fast-paced development and automation of its technology.

The team at Base4 is developing a microdroplet based sequencing method that generates long reads from a single molecule of DNA without the need for initial amplification. 

As each base is released, it is encapsulated in its own aqueous microdroplet, where it is identified using fluorescence detection. Base4 says its proprietary chemistry has demonstrated better than 99.5 per cent per base single pass accuracy and with continued development is targeting even faster, higher signal-to-noise reactions. 

It has also demonstrated accurate, direct readout of methylated cytosine, and methylated adenine, says Base4. “No additional sample preparation is needed as the methylation state is read directly, with no bisulfite conversion,” the company added.

“Chromosomal rearrangements and epigenetic modifications are critical elements to understanding and predicting disease states, targeting drugs to individuals and assessing general health. 

“To detect these rearrangements and modifications, long read lengths and direct readout of methylation states are required. Base4 has the only technology capable of doing so at a scale and cost that will enable the testing of large populations. 

“This technology promises to be extremely disruptive, enabling the generation of cheaper, more accurate and much more meaningful sequencing data.”

Base4 is up to 32 employees and holds eight granted patents. The company benefits from the expertise of a significant number of PhD scientists, with backgrounds across physics, nanofabrication, optical detection, chemistry, molecular biology, microfluidics, electrochemistry and data science. 

“This multidisciplinary team provides the creative solutions needed to overcome the challenges of this exciting field,” said a company spokesperson.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Base4 Innovation CEO, Cameron Frayling

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