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DNA Script: synthetic DNA on demand

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DNA Script was created to revolutionize access to synthetic DNA. The technology that the company has developed allows for a rapid, convenient way to access DNA on demand through SYNTAX, the world’s first benchtop DNA printer powered by enzymatic technology.

“Getting access to synthetic DNA is a real challenge for any life-science project. Our aim is to provide a tool that will allow life-science teams to manufacture the synthetic DNA they need for their project on-site in a matter of a few hours rather than several days,” explains Thomas Ybert, co-founder and CEO of DNA Script.  “To synthesise DNA today, you need the infrastructure to work with dangerous chemicals. We conceptualised an alternative way of synthesising DNA using enzymes instead of chemicals. It’s faster, easier, safer and can be done on-site. Ultimately, the time saved will make a huge difference in terms of control measures, cases, casualties and economic impact.”

In the context of a pandemic, DNA synthesis will be key in the development of any vaccine… “Ultimately, we want to deploy our devices as broadly as possible, down to local hospitals,” says Thomas. “Imagine a new outbreak in a remote region, a new virus… With our instrument, they could quickly provide the DNA needed to sequence the first genome of the virus, and access critical information within hours. The same SYNTAX instrument will be able to iterate, very quickly, diagnostic tests, and then you can quickly test people, all within 24-48 hours. Without decentralised DNA synthesis devices, it could take days or even weeks to liaise with a centralised DNA production site. You can then confine potential infected people fast and stop a pandemic, without having to quarantine a whole continent. For the Covid-19 virus, it could still be useful to help monitor its evolution if it mutates. You need to update your knowledge, sequence the new virus mutants and update your tests, so we could play a role in that regard.”

In 2016, DNA Script received an important equity investment from Kurma Partners, a venture capital firm backed by the EIF, that helped the company on its path to professionalisation. “The seed financing helped us turn into a real company, make our first hires and move to the proof of concept stage. Initially we were just three early entrepreneurs, of which only one full-time.”

And the next step for DNA Script? “Well, we are just building our first beta prototype, and then we want to enter evaluation programmes, test the device around partners, get technical feedback and fine-tune it. When the machine is widely available, people will be asking themselves ‘how did we live without it’?”

Company: DNA Script (France)

Type of business: biotechnology

EIF financing: RCR mandate and own resources 

Financial intermediary: Kurma Partners 

For further information about EIF intermediaries in France, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/fr/index.htm

 

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