Broken String Biosciences secures €14M Funding to advance and commercialize INDUCE-seq Technology in the UK

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Broken String Biosciences secures €14M Funding to advance and commercialize INDUCE-seq Technology in the UK
©  Broken String Biosciences

Cambridge-headquartered Broken String Biosciences, a genomics company specializing in the development of safer cell and gene therapies, unveiled its successful Series A funding round, raising $15 million (roughly €14 million).

Illumina Ventures and Mérieux Equity Partners jointly spearheaded the investment, with significant contributions from HERAN Partners, and active involvement from existing investors Tencent and Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures.

In conjunction with this funding, Yoann Bonnamour from Mérieux Equity Partners and Arnaud Autret from Illumina Ventures have assumed positions on the Board of Directors at Broken String Biosciences.

Autret expressed, “The clinical progression of cell and gene therapies is held back by off-target safety concerns – we recognise the power of Broken String Biosciences’ technology to drive advances in safer genome editing, genome biology, and genetic toxicology, and optimise drug development programmes.”

Bonnamour added, “Broken String Biosciences’ team has the technical expertise and resources, paired with its strong connection with a world-leading genomics research institute, to drive this platform forward and transform the way gene editing programmes are designed and developed.”

About Broken String Biosciences

Broken String Biosciences is committed to elevating the safety standards of cell and gene therapies by offering comprehensive genome stability assessments. The company is actively constructing a platform to facilitate the development of inherently safer cell and gene therapies.

At the heart of their technology portfolio lies INDUCE-seq, an advanced Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-based platform meticulously engineered for mapping DNA breaks. This pioneering platform empowers companies engaged in cell and gene therapy development to precisely measure and quantify the specificity of off-target genetic modifications and assess the resultant genetic outcomes.

Established as a spin-out from Cardiff University in 2020, Broken String Biosciences subsequently completed a residency at the Illumina Accelerator, situated in Cambridge, UK. In September 2021, it successfully secured nearly $4M in a Series Seed round from investors spanning the UK, Germany, and the US.

The company is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, situated at the BioData Innovation Centre on the prestigious Wellcome Genome Campus. Furthermore, it maintains cutting-edge laboratory facilities in proximity at Chesterford Research Park.

Core Attributes of INDUCE-seq

INDUCE-seq, pioneered by Broken String Biosciences, stands as a cutting-edge platform designed for the precise evaluation of genome editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas9, within the context of cell and gene therapy development.

This innovative technology adopts a PCR-free (polymerase chain reaction) methodology that directly quantifies DNA double-strand breaks using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques.

INDUCE-seq empowers researchers throughout the development continuum, from initial discovery to clinical applications, by facilitating the identification and mitigation of off-target genetic modifications. It serves as a robust, data-driven solution for examining the outcomes of gene editing, contributing to the discovery of novel therapeutic targets within the genome and the progress of gene editing initiatives.

Felix Dobbs, PhD, CEO of Broken String Biosciences, asserts, “Our vision is to usher in a future where cell and gene therapies prioritize safety, efficiency, and affordability for patients.”

“Operating at the crossroads of biology, bioinformatics, and data science, our INDUCE-seq platform offers an impartial end-to-end solution that expedites the measurement and evaluation of off-target gene editing during therapeutic development.”

“This equips stakeholders with indispensable insights necessary for advancing therapeutic programs harnessing gene editing and averting potential risks that could lead to late-stage clinical setbacks.”

“Through the development of a deployable PaaS offering, we aim to deliver this much-needed solution to the cell and gene therapy community and foster rapid market growth,” adds Dobbs.

Funding Usage

Broken String Biosciences intends to allocate the funds towards the advancement of its genomics technology platform, with a particular focus on enhancing its DNA break mapping platform, INDUCE-seq.

The primary objective is to evolve INDUCE-seq into a scalable ‘Platform-as-a-Service’ (PaaS) offering and extend its functionalities beyond gene editing applications.

Additionally, the raised capital will be instrumental in driving the company’s growth initiatives, encompassing team expansion activities at its Wellcome Genome Campus headquarters in Cambridge, UK, as well as the establishment of a US office. These strategic moves will facilitate an enriched go-to-market approach and the acceleration of commercial adoption for its genomics solutions.

Felix Dobbs emphasizes, “The support garnered by Broken String from esteemed investors in the life science and genomics sectors underscores the potential of our technology and its capacity to fulfill the therapeutic potential of gene editing.”

About the Investors

Illumina Ventures is a healthcare-oriented venture firm operating in collaboration with Illumina. The firm specializes in early-stage investments aimed at assisting entrepreneurs in translating pioneering scientific discoveries and cutting-edge technologies into thriving enterprises. Their primary focus areas encompass life science tools, therapeutic solutions, diagnostics, personal well-being, and sustainability, all within the realm of the healthcare industry.

Mérieux Equity Partners (MxEP) is a management company accredited by the AMF, with a specialization in equity investments within the healthcare and nutrition sectors. With assets under management (AUM) exceeding €1.5 billion, MxEP provides comprehensive support to companies and visionaries operating in these domains. This includes granting access to their sector-specific expertise and a far-reaching global network.

HERAN Partners is a Belgian investment fund dedicated to nurturing European startups and scale-ups in the fields of medical technology (medtech) and health technology (healthtech). They offer financial backing, extensive networking opportunities, expert guidance, and mentorship to foster the growth of companies within their portfolio.

The firm’s inaugural fund, valued at €75.5 million, is committed to supporting ventures characterized by highly disruptive and scalable technologies operating within these sectors.


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