7 companies synthesizing DNA for medical R&D
One of the important figures behind reeoxyribomnucleic acid (DNA) Synthetic Technology is biochemist and Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis. Apparently he discovered a way to synthetically replicate DNA through what is now known as polimerase vshate raction (PCR) while dropping massive doses of acid on the way home from work. And despite the enormous potential of PCR, he instead started a business that sells jewelry containing the amplified DNA of deceased celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.
Fortunately, other more business savvy people have understood DNA and ribomnucleic acid (RNA) synthesis can be used for larger applications. Since Mullis’ discovery, the replication of DNA and RNA from a template, such as the nucleus of an organism, has been relatively straightforward. Much like copy and paste code – no thinking required. The big challenge (and opportunity) learned to design new DNA sequences and essentially rewrite the code of life. The state of the art used chemical synthesis to build DNA bases one by one, in the same way that pharmaceutical drugs are produced, which was extremely expensive, laborious and toxic.
DNA and RNA synthesis as a service versus material
Today, companies are jumping on the enzymatic train, which has accelerated and expanded technological possibilities, to build on-demand DNA and RNA sequences for therapeutics, vaccines and research. We recently covered Codex DNA (DNA), a new state-owned company that has developed is a desktop machine that creates DNA – from digital DNA code to an actual DNA strand. We were originally interested in Codex DNA because we are investors in Twist Bioscience (TWST), which provides DNA synthesis as a service. If companies like Codex DNA can put easy-to-use tools in the hands of their customers, what will that do for companies that offer DNA synthesis as a service?
In its filing with the SEC, Codex DNA listed some of its main competitors. We’ve narrowed the list down to those who offer DNA synthesis as a service or who develop material for on-demand production anywhere. Here are seven companies that synthesize DNA for more than just making jewelry from the dead.
DNA Synthesis as a Service
San Francisco-area Nutcracker Therapeutics was founded in 2018 to design mRNA-based therapies and vaccines. he raised $ 74 million after a $ 60 million Series B that closed in September 2020. The company is developing a computer-controlled RNA manufacturing system called Aautomated Cocontrol AIA (GLANS). The platform is based on disposable microfluidic “biochips” that allow nucleic acids to be produced and encapsulated directly without any contamination, taking a page in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. These mRNAs encapsulated in nanoparticles are ready to use and can be used for research or patient treatment. The company is initially focused on mRNA-based therapies for the treatment of cancers, with plans to expand to other diseases. We can’t wait for the cost-effective erectile dysfunction vaccine.
Aldevron is based in Fargo, North Dakota, where they can store the mRNA vaccine outdoors in the winter. Founded in 1998, the news has just fallen that Danaher Corporation (HRD) acquires the private company for $ 9.6 billion to integrate it into its life sciences division. The company manufactures plasmid DNA, mRNA and recombinant proteins, which are the ingredients necessary for the design of nucleic acid vaccines. Aldevron offers contract manufacturing for custom production of nucleic acids and proteins and offers its own biologics for sale.
Aldevron is currently working with Moderna on its COVID-19 vaccination program, with the intention of expanding its existing partnership to include other programs in Moderna’s clinical development pipeline.
Founded in 2013, San Diego-based Molecular Assemblies is a biotechnology startup that designs DNA synthesis technologies. he raised $ 30.8 million after a series A which ended in April 2021 with investments from Agilent Technologies (A). Molecular Assemblies has developed a three-step enzymatic process for the construction of longer synthetic oligos. The startup wants to target all potential markets and applications of DNA, including agriculture, biofuels, DNA information storage, nanoscale DNA, genetic electronics and therapeutics. The company works with GE (GE) Research to enable the production of vaccines and nucleic acid therapeutics.
Founded in 2002, GenScript Biotech (GNNSF) is headquartered in New Jersey but trades on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Its services include DNA synthesis by providing genetic and protein material to laboratories, such as research reagents for a better understanding of the COVID-19 virus. GenScript Biotech offers custom-engineered short and medium strands of DNA and RNA called oligos, short for oligonucleotides.
These products are supplied as natural, unmodified strands or can be modified to be labeled with fluorescent dyes that help researchers and laboratories identify sequences in DNA for genetic testing and personalized medicine. The company uses an electrochemical oligo synthesizer platform, which we don’t quite understand but looks good to us, that can build custom pools of DNA or RNA for less than $ 0.02 per pair of bases. Anytime you can lower the cost of an expensive biotech process, you know there is a potential market opportunity.
Material for DNA synthesis
Founded in 2014, DNA Script is a French DNA synthesis start-up that has brought $ 112.6 million in funding after a Series B cycle that ended in July 2020. The company designed Syntax, a benchtop DNA printer that produces synthetic DNA oligos on demand. Much like how 3D printing was supposed to make home and small business manufacturing of complex instruments, materials and devices a routine process, a benchtop DNA printer would help researchers and laboratories. accelerate research by reducing latency and waiting costs for samples from custom oligo manufacturers.
The printer can synthesize up to 96 oligos between 6 and 13 hours, depending on the duration. The startup is working with developers of diagnostic tests to design tools that help researchers explore important scientific questions, such as the treatment of baldness.
Founded in 2013, Nuclera Nucleics is a UK-based biotechnology company that has attracted $ 11.3 million following a Series A that ended in November 2018. Nuclera Nucleics is also developing a desktop bioprinter to design custom proteins and genes that will allow researchers to build any biologic they want. wish in a few days. The system relies on enzymes that can quickly and selectively bind together nucleotides into nucleic acids.
The company recently acquired the microfluidics unit of E Ink, an electronic ink maker, to expand the intellectual property needed to design its desktop bio-printer. The combined technology will leverage digital microfluidics, where electrical signals are used to guide microdroplets rather than conventional channels.
Founded in 2000, CureVac (HVAC) is an $ 11 billion German biopharmaceutical company betting big on mRNA vaccine technology behind Prizer / BioNTech and Moderna (MRNA) COVID-19 vaccination programs. The company has its own internal nucleotide sequence library that allows it to assemble the different pieces of mRNA in the desired process without making additional chemical changes in the RNA. He is also developing a portable mRNA “printing” facility called, quite creatively, the RNA Printer, which can be stationed in hospitals to provide personalized medicine or to respond, for example, to a pandemic.
Speaking of which, CureVac is also producing a series of its own mRNA vaccines, including the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in clinical phase 3. It has also been busy designing rabies mRNA vaccines (currently in clinical phase 1), yellow fever, malaria, influenza, lung cancer and skin cancer. CureVac has partnerships with Bayer (BAYRY), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The company also works with Harvard, Yale and Crispr Therapeutics (CRSP), a gene editing company, on protein therapies using its mRNA technology to build functional and personalized proteins.
COVID-19 has been a major accelerator for the advancement of DNA and RNA vaccine technology. This means that the next wave of biotech companies will look for other ways to integrate mRNA vaccines into the therapeutic pipeline for other diseases and conditions. We are talking about the platforms to reprogram the cells to do our auctions. Combined with CRISPR gene editing and other technologies in the field of synthetic biology, the personalized synthesis of DNA and RNA, and all the ingredients that compose them, will certainly be an important player in the future. therapy.
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