UK-based biotech firm Broken String Biosciences is building a platform that according to the company, accelerates the characterisation of novel genome editing technologies. The Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-based DNA break mapping platform provides a PaaS (platform as a service) to ensure that the development of cell and gene therapies is safer by design.
Broken String's INDUCE-seq platform allows researchers to assess just how specific genome editing tools are as well as evaluate the associated off-target genetic outcomes through the removal of limitations. Likewise, the company is able to leverage a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-free approach to directly measure and quantify DNA double-strand breaks using NGS through insights across discovery and trials to provide new therapeutic targets within the genome and to advance gene editing programs.
The company has raised a $15 million Series A funding round providing the fuel to deliver the platform, expand its existing UK team, and open an office in the US.
The round was co-led by Illumina Ventures and Mérieux Equity Partners, and includes HERAN Partners and existing investors Tencent and Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures (DvH Ventures).
“By developing a deployable PaaS offering, we have the opportunity to provide the cell and gene therapy community with this much-needed solution and achieve rapid market growth," says Broken String Biosciences' CEO Felix Dobbs, Ph.D..
As part of the round, Yoann Bonnamour of Mérieux Equity Partners, and Arnaud Autret of Illumina Ventures, join the company’s board.
“The clinical progression of cell and gene therapies is held back by off-target safety concerns – we recognize the power of Broken String Biosciences’ technology to drive advances in safer genome editing, genome biology and genetic toxicology, and optimise drug development programs. The platform has the potential to become the gold-standard solution for measuring off-target gene editing," says Autret.
Lead image: Broken String Biosciences.