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9 September, 2020 - 20:32 By Tony Quested

US deal helps Evonetix fast-track rollout of desktop DNA writer

A collaboration between Cambridge business Evonetix and US company Analog Devices Inc will fast-track the development and scale-up of the UK innovator’s desktop DNA writer.

The technology will help facilitate the rapidly growing multibillion-dollar synthetic biology industry, Evonetix says.

Evonetix’s novel silicon chip controls the synthesis of DNA at many thousands of independently controlled reaction sites or ‘pixels’ on the chip surface in a highly parallel fashion. 

The two companies began working together in January 2019. They agreed to extend the collaboration as Evonetix continues to work with Analog Garage – the NASDAQ company’s corporate innovation lab – to jointly develop an integrated solution which includes the MEMS platform, an application specific integrated circuit to miniaturise the control electronics, and flow cell. 

Analog Devices, based in Massachusetts, will assist with the commercial scale-up of the technology and manufacture devices for the desktop DNA writers.

The opportunities available to synthetic biology in areas as diverse as pharmaceuticals and drug discovery, industrial biotech, specialty chemicals, renewables, agriculture and materials science are currently being held back by the ability to create de novo high-fidelity DNA at scale. 

Evonetix’s DNA synthesis technology, which will be sold to laboratories as a ‘plug and play’ desktop instrument, will synthesise DNA at unprecedented accuracy, scale and speed, accelerating scientists’ ability to use biology on a scale not currently possible and influencing a large impact on global health.
Dr Matthew Hayes, chief technology officer at Evonetix, said: “Collaborating with Analog Devices is a significant step forward in our mission to develop a highly parallel desktop platform to accurately synthesise DNA at scale.

“The support and expertise of the Analog Garage R & D team has been invaluable in helping us design a complex control ASIC and we now look forward to expanding our collaboration to achieve the commercial scale-up of our platform.”

Pat O’Doherty, senior vice-president of digital healthcare at Analog Devices, added: “Evonetix is a pioneer in reimagining biology and developing a radically different approach to synthesising long-chain DNA at unprecedented accuracy and scale. 

“This collaboration provides Analog Devices with an opportunity to enter the growing synthetic biology market. Our work together is aimed at increasing the speed and reducing the cost of gene assembly to provide novel strategies that can be used to produce affordable medications and treat a wide range of diseases globally.”

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