DNA Script raises €11 million ($13 million) in series A financing led by Illumina Ventures to advance development of its DNA synthesis technology
Paris, September 12th, 2017. Synthetic DNA manufacturer DNA Script has today announced a Series A fundraising of 11 million euros ($13 million) led by Illumina Ventures, with additional investment from Merck Ventures BV, the corporate venture arm of Merck KGaA, plus existing investors Sofinnova Partners, Kurma Partners, and Idinvest Partners.
DNA Script is an industry leader in the manufacture of de novo synthetic nucleic acids using proprietary enzymatic technology. This latest fundraising round will allow DNA Script to strengthen its unique enzymatic technology and nucleotide chemistry platform in order to manufacture high quality oligonucleotides faster and more affordably than current market standards.
As the field of genomics experiences rapid growth, new genome editing technologies are introduced, and research into life sciences is increasing steadily – the demand for synthetic nucleic acids has expanded, but is not always met. For the past 50 years, synthetic DNA has been manufactured through a complex chemical process with limitations in terms of quality, turn-around time, and manufacturing flexibility. In contrast, DNA Script introduces a novel biochemical process for DNA and RNA synthesis based on the use of highly efficient enzymes. This technology mimics the way nature produces genetic code and enables enhanced performance while minimizing the use of harsh chemicals.
“We are pleased to attract preeminent investors to our Series A round, which will allow us to further accelerate our R&D plan and technology scale-up,” stated Thomas Ybert, PhD, DNA Script Co-founder and CEO. “Our new process broadly enables new applications for synthetic DNA and RNA in drug discovery and development, industrial and food technologies, and DNA data storage. By applying high-quality oligo synthesis, we believe we can dramatically improve de novo nucleic acid synthesis performance compared to current technologies.”
Nick Naclerio, Founding Partner of Illumina Ventures and new board member at DNA Script, commented: “We are thrilled to support the team at DNA Script and to be joined by such a strong syndicate of investors. Advancements in DNA synthesis have not kept pace with progress in DNA sequencing and molecular biology. DNA Script has the potential to set a new standard for how DNA is made and accelerate the adoption of synthetic biology across diverse disciplines.”
Joško Bobanović and Philippe Peltier, respectively, at Sofinnova Partners and Kurma Partners, stated: “Since our initial involvement at the seed stage, DNA Script team has demonstrated an exceptional ability to accelerate its technical development, identify new markets and business models, and attract interest of major global players. With strong local community support and this international round of financing, DNA Script is well-positioned to reap benefits of this unique technology.”
About DNA Script
Founded in 2014 in Paris, DNA Script is the world’s leading company in manufacturing de novo synthetic nucleic acids using an enzymatic technology. The company aims at accelerating innovation in life sciences and technology through rapid, affordable, and high-quality DNA synthesis. DNA Script’s approach leverages nature’s billions of years of evolution in synthesizing DNA to enable genome scale synthesis.
The Company’s technology has the potential to greatly accelerate the development of new therapeutics, sustainable chemicals production, improved crops as well as data storage.
About Illumina Ventures
Illumina Ventures is an independently-managed, healthcare-focused venture firm in a strategic partnership with Illumina, with the vision to unlock the power of the genome. As an early-stage, value-add investor, we help entrepreneurs develop breakthrough science and technologies into market-leading companies to transform healthcare. We focus on investment in life science tools, therapeutics, diagnostics, and personal wellness.
About Merck Ventures BV
Merck Ventures is the strategic, corporate venture capital arm of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Its mandate is to invest in innovative technologies and products with the potential to significantly impact Merck’s core business areas. From our headquarters in Amsterdam and offices in the US and Israel we invest globally in transformational ideas driven by great entrepreneurs. Merck Ventures takes an active role in its portfolio companies and teams up with entrepreneurs and co-investors to translate innovation into commercial success. Merck Ventures has a significant focus on early-stage investing and company creation including the creation of spin-offs to leverage Merck’s science and technology base.
About Sofinnova Partners
Sofinnova Partners is a leading European venture capital firm specialized in Life Sciences. Based in Paris, France, the firm brings together 12 highly experienced investment professionals from all over Europe, the US and China. The firm focuses on paradigm shifting technologies alongside visionary entrepreneurs. Sofinnova Partners seeks to invest as a founding and lead investor in start-ups and corporate spin-offs, and for more than 40 years has backed nearly 500 companies creating market leaders around the globe. Today, Sofinnova Partners has over 1.3 billion of funds under management. For more information, please visit:
About Kurma Partners
Created in 2009, Kurma Partners is an European leading venture capital group specialized in Life Sciences and managing Kurma Biofund I, Kurma Biofund II and its accelerator fund, Kurma Diagnostics. The company has more than €250 million under management and develops an investment strategy supported by both the selection of the best investment opportunities in Europe and the development of a “proprietary” portfolio of companies in which Kurma steps in at creation stage.
About Idinvest Partners
With almost €8 billion under management, Idinvest Partners is a leading pan-European private equity firm, focused on the mid-market segment. Idinvest Partners has developed several complementary areas of expertise including: investments in innovative European start-ups; mid-market direct lending (unitranche, senior loans and junior financing); primary and secondary investments in unlisted European companies, and private equity consulting. Founded under the name AGF Private Equity in 1997, Idinvest Partners was formerly part of Allianz until 2010, when it became an independent firm.
Press contacts in Europe
Caroline Carmagnol and Margaux Pronost
06 64 18 99 59 / 01 44 54 36 65
DNA Script Contact
Sylvain Gariel, COO