Gene editing company Inscripta’s vision is to “operationalize” biology with its CRISPR-powered tools. It got one step closer today with the announcement of $20M in additional Series C funding, bringing their Series C to $105M and total funding to about $134M.
We previously wrote how CRISPR is stuck in the sense that companies don’t yet have the ability to do multiplex gene editing at a cost structure that can realize its many hoped-for benefits. Inscripta aims to change that. Just four months ago, The Scientist named Inscripta’s license-free MAD7 CRISPR enzyme a top innovation of 2018. With MAD7 and tools under development, Inscripta aims to break down barriers related to cost and intellectual property to enable wider use of gene editing on an unprecedented scale.
Kevin Ness, CEO of Inscripta, said in a press release: “We are making rapid progress in developing an innovative suite of gene editing tools, and the funds from this round will help us ramp our commercialization efforts as we prepare to introduce these solutions to the market later this year.”
The new funding comes from existing investors: Venrock, Foresite, Mérieux Développement, Paladin Capital Group, MLS Capital, and NanoDimension.
“Researchers desperately need a scale transformation that will allow gene editing efforts to be as useful and as informative as possible. I believe that Inscripta will make that transformation possible,” said John Stuelpnagel, Chairman of Inscripta’s Board of Directors, co-founder and first CEO of Illumina.
In December 2018, Inscripta announced the broad adoption of MAD7, its first CRISPR enzyme, by gene editing researchers working on diverse sectors, including energy, therapeutics, and food. The enzyme is available free of licensing fees and “reach-through royalties” for all research and development uses, whether they are commercial or non-commercial, domestic or international. “There are a lot of good projects and ideas standing on the sidelines because of these commercial access limitations,” said Ness in a recent interview for SynBioBeta.
They have also recently demonstrated that the MADzyme family is an effective tool in mammalian cells with multiple applications, were granted a patent that covers systems using MAD7, and acquired Solana Biosciences, a company founded by Illumina veterans.
In addition to enzymes, Inscripta is developing custom nucleases, instruments, reagents, and software to increase the speed and efficiency of precision gene editing.
In a recent interview for SynBioBeta, Kevin Ness commented: “Biologists, specifically genome engineers, are slowly trying to figure out what genome alterations generate the specific phenotype their application needs”. He attributes this difficult process to two things: access to, and performance of, existing genome editing tools. “We haven’t had the ability to multiplex gene editing at a cost structure to allow you to truly operationalize biology.”
“Once scientists have access to the tools and technology that they need, the pace and volume of genetic research will accelerate toward the advancements that will truly help humanity“, said Inscripta CEO Kevin Ness in a recent Op/ed for GEN.0