Octopus and redalpine lead $13m seed round for ExpressionEdits

29 May, 2024
Tony Quested
European VC firms Octopus Ventures and redalpine have co-led a $13 million seed funding round in Cambridge biotech ExpressionEdits. BlueYard Capital, Wilbe Capital, Acequia Capital, Amino Collective, and Hawktail also participated in the round.
From left to right: Dr Kärt Tomberg, CEO & Co-Founder, Dr Leopold Parts, CTO, and Dr Rebecca Godfrey, COO. Credit – ExpressionEdits.

Founded in 2021 by Dr Kärt Tomberg, Professor Allan Bradley, and Dr Liliana Antunes based on research from the University of Cambridge, the company’s proprietary intronization technology revolutionises gene design by mimicking the natural genetic landscape.

By strategically incorporating multiple short noncoding DNA sequences known as introns into artificial genes, ExpressionEdits has achieved significant enhancements in gene expression which leads to better protein production.

The company's AI-powered platform integrates millions of biological data points with machine learning algorithms, enabling automated optimisation of gene design. This transformative technology empowers ExpressionEdits to predict and prioritise key properties of genes, unlocking the production of previously elusive therapeutic proteins.

The funding will accelerate candidate selection for preclinical studies and develop a pipeline of protein-based therapeutics. The primary focus for the pipeline will be recombinant proteins that have historically faced production and manufacturing challenges based on current technology.

ExpressionEdits CEO and co-founder, Dr Kärt Tomberg said: “At ExpressionEdits, we're revolutionising gene expression by putting introns back where they belong, resulting in significant improvements in production. Our platform empowers precise decisions on which introns to use, where to place them, and how many, unlocking unprecedented levels of protein expression. Our mission is to be the pioneers in making protein therapeutics readily available and accessible to patients.”

Dr Hugo Villanueva, Investor at Octopus Ventures said: “We believe that the ExpressionEdits platform can become the fabric for any protein expression system, from antibody manufacturing to in vivo therapeutics.

“We’re excited to support Kärt and the ExpressionEdits team to revitalise healthcare through their mission of improving protein expression to produce novel genetic medicines.”

Michael Sidler, Founding Partner at Swiss VC firm redalpine added: “ExpressionEdits unravels the significance and the opportunities of introns, which were once relegated to the dark matter of the human genome.

“Their proprietary intronization technology unlocks the capacity to express highly complex molecules previously deemed unattainable, while regulating them with precision. This opens up a groundbreaking new frontier in the recombinant protein therapy space, and we firmly believe that ExpressionEdits will spearhead the growth of this rapidly expanding field.”

ExpressionEdits’ Genetic Syntax Engine is a computational gene editing platform that uses advanced AI and deep biological insights to predict and redesign genes to unlock protein expression across therapeutic modalities.

The technology aims to improve the effectiveness and precision of gene therapies, allowing for lower doses to achieve therapeutic levels, thus minimising toxicity, and expanding the genetic toolbox to further support the targeting of specific tissues, and increasing protein expression levels.

Co-founder Professor Bradley is a serial entrepreneur, founding a number of successful biotechs in the UK and US. He was Director of the world-renowned Wellcome Sanger Institute from 2000 to 2010 when he founded Kymab which was sold to Sanofi in 2021 for $1.45 billion. Prior to this he founded two companies in the United States – Lexicon Genetics in 1995 and Spectral Genomics Inc in 2000.

He also founded Cambridge company, PetMedix, which was acquired by Zoetis last year, and is currently founder/CEO of Cambridge University spinout T-Therapeutics which raised £48m in Series A funding in November 2023.