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2 March, 2020 - 10:26 By Tony Quested

San Francisco backer chips into Evonetix $30m Series B

Cambridge synthetic biology business Evonetix is ramping up its DNA on a chip technology proposition after closing a $30 million Series B round led by new investor Foresite Capital which is anchored in San Francisco.

Draper Esprit, DCVC (Data Collective), the Morningside group, Providence Investment Company, Cambridge Consultants Ltd, Rising Tide Fund and Civilization Ventures, also participated.

Evonetix is developing a desktop platform for scalable, high-fidelity and rapid gene synthesis.

The cash will be used to accelerate internal technology development, including the integration of Evonetix’s technology to enable the synthesis of DNA on a chip. 

The investment will fund the company through to the introduction of its desktop DNA platform which, once fully developed, will facilitate and enable the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology with application across industries including healthcare, pharma, biotech, food and agriculture and data storage.

The investment will also support the UK company’s significant recruitment plans as it continues to increase headcount across scientific, operational and commercial staff located at Evonetix’s state-of-the-art facility at Coldhams Business Park, Cambridge.

Evonetix was founded in 2015 to develop technology that enables the parallel synthesis of DNA on silicon arrays to facilitate the fast-emerging field of synthetic biology, where there is increasing demand for high-throughput and highly accurate DNA synthesis. 

The company was founded by Cambridge Consultants and Hermann Hauser’s Providence Investment Company Limited and went on to close $12.3 million Series A funding in 2018, in addition to a grant from Innovate UK. 

The close of the Series B round brings the total funds raised by the business to $46 million to date. 

The company’s technology utilises a silicon chip, made by microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) processing, that controls the synthesis of DNA at many thousands of independently controlled reaction sites or ‘pixels’ on the chip surface in a highly parallel fashion. 

Following synthesis, strands are assembled on-chip into double-stranded DNA in a process that identifies and removes errors, enabling accuracy, scale and speed that is several orders of magnitude better than conventional approaches.

Dr Tim Brears, Evonetix CEO, said: “The backing of both our existing and new investors will enable us to fast track development, testing and delivery of our highly parallel desktop platform, which will be available to every researcher to accelerate their ability to use biology on a scale not possible with existing approaches.”

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