Broken String Biosciences bags $15M to make genome editing safer

By Jonathan Smith

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags series A funding Pharmaceutical industry Dna Dna sequencing genome editing

The UK startup Broken String Biosciences has raised a $15 million Series A round to fund the development of a DNA sequencing platform that maps off-target DNA breaks resulting from genome editing technology.

The investment round was co-led by the firms Illumina Ventures and Mérieux Equity Partners. Also participating in the round were HERAN Partners and returning investors Tencent and Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures.

Broken String will use the proceeds to fuel the commercialization of its technology and increase its U.K. workforce in addition to setting up a U.S. office.

Genome editing tools such as CRISPR-Cas9 are gaining momentum in the biotech industry and have big potential in the development of cell and gene therapies. However, these tools also risk causing off-target mutations in the genome that can lead to safety risks, slowing down development and increasing its costs.

Broken String Biosciences’ technology, dubbed INDUCE-seq, uses next-generation sequencing to measure and count double-stranded breaks in DNA faster than traditional methods. The platform can thus accelerate target and drug discovery efforts based on genome editing by flagging potentially risky off-target effects that could hamper development at costlier clinical-stage development.

“We recognize the power of Broken String Biosciences’ technology to drive advances in safer genome editing, genome biology and genetic toxicology, and optimize drug development programs,” said Arnaud Autret, Principal at Illumina Ventures, in a public statement. “The platform has the potential to become the gold-standard solution for measuring off-target gene editing.”

In a public statement, Raf Roelands, investment director at HERAN Partners, heralded the technology as a “game-changing innovation,” adding that the team has made “impressive progress since its seed funding round in 2021, successfully demonstrating that the platform addresses the market’s needs and generates repeat revenues across a portfolio of partners.”

Another startup aiming to promote safer genome editing technology is Amber Bio in the U.S, which raised $26 million in a seed financing round. The company is developing an RNA editing platform that is able to correct genetic mutations more reversibly than current genome editing approaches.

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