Element Biosciences Lands $15M to Develop New Genetic Analysis Tools

Element Biosciences完成1500万美元A轮融资,将推动开发并优化基因分析平台

2019-06-21 07:55:00 Xconomy

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 Most of the genetic analysis done today is performed on machines made by Illumina, the DNA sequencing giant. Now a former director from the company is leading a startup that has raised $15 million to develop new genome sequencing tools. San Diego’s Element Biosciences said Tuesday that it had secured a Series A round led by Foresite Capital, a healthcare and life sciences venture capital firm based in San Francisco, and Silicon Valley’s Venrock. Molly He, Element’s CEO and co-founder, is a venture partner at Foresite. Prior to joining the firm in 2017, she was a senior director of scientific research at Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN). Before that, she was head of protein sciences at Pacific Biosciences (NASDAQ: PACB), a smaller rival DNA sequencing company that Illumina agreed to acquire for $1.2 billion last November. (The acquisition has not yet closed. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority on Wednesday raised antitrust concerns in connection with the deal.) Since Illumina’s founding in 1998, the cost of sequencing a human genome has plummeted. Sequencing the first such genome cost more than $2 billion. By 2014, Illumina had cut the price tag to under $1,000. At the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in 2017, CEO Francis deSouza said the company anticipates its latest machine will one day be able to do the task for $100. But Element says it sees an opportunity to disrupt the industry by developing tools that are cheaper and better than those currently available. Basic and clinical researchers today use platforms that “resemble mainframe computers” for genetic analysis, Foresite Capital CEO and managing director Jim Tananbaum said in the news release announcing Element’s funding. Element says it will use the new capital to fuel its R&D to improve upon today’s analysis process. “We are on an aggressive path to introduce a high quality, flexible platform to make genetic analysis more accessible and adaptable to a broad customer base,” said He in the release.
今天所做的大部分基因分析都是在 DNA 测序巨头 Illumina 制造的机器上进行的。 现在,该公司的一位前董事正在领导一家新公司,该公司已经筹集了1500万美元来开发新的基因组测序工具。 圣地亚哥的 Element Biosciences 周二表示,它已经获得了由旧金山的医疗和生命科学风险投资公司 Foresite Capital 和硅谷的 Venrock 牵头的第一轮融资。 Element 首席执行官兼联合创始人 Molly He 是 Foresite 的风险合伙人。在2017年加入该公司之前,她曾任 Illumina 公司( NASDAQ : ILMN )科学研究高级总监。在此之前,她是太平洋生物科学公司( NASDAQ : PACB )的蛋白质科学主管,后者是 Illumina 去年11月同意以12亿美元收购的规模较小的 DNA 测序公司。(这笔收购尚未完成。英国竞争与市场管理局( Competition and Markets Authority )周三就该交易提出了反垄断担忧。) 自 Illumina 于1998年创立以来,人类基因组测序成本大幅下降。对第一个这样的基因组进行排序需要花费超过20亿美元。到2014年, Illumina 将价格降至1000美元以下。在2017年摩根大通医疗保健会议上,公司首席执行官弗朗西斯•德苏扎( Francis DeSouza )表示,公司预计其最新的机器有朝一日能够以100美元的价格完成任务。 但 Element 表示,它认为有机会通过开发比目前更便宜、更好的工具来扰乱行业。 ForesiteCapital 首席执行官兼董事总经理吉姆•坦纳鲍姆( Jim Tananbaum )在宣布 Element 提供资金的新闻稿中表示,如今基础和临床研究人员使用“类似于大型计算机”的平台进行基因分析。 Element 表示,它将利用新资本推动其研发工作,以改善目前的分析过程。 “我们正走上一条积极的道路,推出一个高质量、灵活的平台,使基因分析更容易获得,并适应广泛的客户群,”他在新闻稿中表示。

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