EVONETIX LTD (‘Evonetix’), the synthetic biology company developing a desktop platform for scalable, high-fidelity and rapid gene synthesis, today announced the successful close of its Series B funding. The Company has raised $30 million USD (£23 million GBP) in this round, which was led by new investor Foresite Capital. Existing investors, Draper Esprit, DCVC (Data Collective), the Morningside group, Providence Investment Company, Cambridge Consultants Ltd, Rising Tide Fund, and Civilization Ventures, also all participated in the round.
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Evonetix is the latest in a line of successful companies that trace their roots back to Cambridge Consultants. Cambridge Consultants has created more than 20 companies in its long history, with many that have changed market dynamics and disrupted whole industries. Several of these companies, including CSR, Domino and Xaar, have gone on to be listed on the London Stock Exchange. In all, Cambridge Consultants has created over £1 billion GBP worth of value and more than 3,000 jobs through its spinouts and is seen by many as a founding father of ‘the Cambridge Phenomenon’.
The new funding 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 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, UK.
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 Providence Investment Company Limited, and went on to close $12.3 million USD 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 Company to $46 million to date. The Company has the backing of the technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist Hermann Hauser.
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.”
Jim Tananbaum, CEO and Managing Director at Foresite Capital, said: “Evonetix is developing a desktop, short latency solution to synthesise DNA. We are delighted to support the team in their mission to make biological engineering as accessible and widespread as next-generation sequencing.”
Vishal Gulati, Venture Partner, Draper Esprit, added: “The next set of breakthroughs in healthcare and synthetic biology will come from technologies that can go beyond reading DNA to writing it. Evonetix is leveraging the UK's strength in DNA research to build this unique, ground-breaking DNA synthesis platform. We’re excited to welcome Foresite Capital, one of the world's leading life-sciences investors, to support this Company to achieve the next stage of its growth and look forward to working closely with this talented team.”
Armen Vidian, Evonetix Board member and Partner at DCVC, said: “DCVC is pleased to continue its commitment to synthetic biology with its renewed investment in Evonetix. As demand grows to use synthetic biology for everything from sustaining agriculture to creating precision medicines and synthetic fuels, Evonetix will be well-positioned to meet those more complex needs with highly accurate, high throughput, long-strand DNA synthesis.”
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 60 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 900 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA), Tokyo and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, energy and wireless communications. For more information, visit: www.cambridgeconsultants.com
Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran. Altran is the world leader in engineering and R&D services. Altran offers its clients a unique value proposition to meet their transformation and innovation challenges. Altran supports its clients, from concept through industrialization, to develop the products and services of tomorrow and has been working for more than 35 years with major players in many sectors: Automotive, Aeronautics, Space, Defense & Naval, Rail, Infrastructure & Transport, Energy, Industrial & Consumer, Life Sciences, Communications, Semiconductor & Electronics, Software & Internet, Finance & Public Sector. Altran has more than 50,000 employees operating in over 30 countries. Altran is an integral part of Capgemini, a global leader in consulting, digital transformation, technology and engineering services. The Group is at the forefront of innovation to address the entire breadth of clients’ opportunities in the evolving world of cloud, digital and platforms. Building on its strong 50-year + heritage and deep industry-specific expertise, Capgemini enables organizations to realize their business ambitions through an array of services from strategy to operations. Capgemini is driven by the conviction that the business value of technology comes from and through people. Today, it is a multicultural company of 270,000 team members in almost 50 countries. With Altran, the Group reported 2019 combined revenues of €17billion. People matter, results count. Visit us at www.altran.com.
About Evonetix Ltd
Evonetix is reimagining biology by developing a radically different approach to gene synthesis – a highly parallel desktop platform to synthesise DNA at unprecedented accuracy and scale. The Company’s platform will place DNA synthesis in the hands of every researcher and change how DNA is accessed, made and used. This new paradigm in gene synthesis will facilitate and enable the rapidly growing field of synthetic biology.
The proprietary Evonetix approach utilises a silicon chip, made by MEMS processing, that integrates physics with biology, and 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 approach is compatible with both chemical and enzymatic DNA synthesis. Following synthesis, strands are assembled on-chip into double-stranded DNA in a process that identifies and removes errors, providing accuracy that is several orders of magnitude better than the conventional approach.
The Evonetix DNA writer will be a desktop device, available to every researcher, and providing scalable, accurate DNA synthesis to enable biological systems to be engineered with unprecedented accuracy and scale – this is third-generation DNA synthesis.
For further information, see www.evonetix.com