Applied goes for genes

Applied Ventures, the VC arm of Applied Materials, has invested in the Series B financing round for Twist Bioscience which develops semiconductor-based technology for synthetic gene manufacturing.

Twist CEO  Emily Leproust

Twist CEO Emily Leproust

“We believe Twist’s proprietary semiconductor-based DNA synthesis process using a silicon platform will provide increased speed, quality and throughput, as well as reduced cost, to the design/build/test research cycle for developing better biologics, diagnostics, industrial chemicals and agbio products,” says Twist CEO  Emily Leproust (pictured). “Applied Ventures’ investment will assist our efforts to commercialise our first products in 2015.”

Twist’s manufacturing process is intended to enable large-scale, high-throughput construction of genetic designs that aim to overcome industry inefficiencies by synthesizing DNA on silicon instead of traditional plastic.

The investment gives Applied the chance to leverage its expertise in precision materials engineering to add value to applications in emerging biotechnology markets.

“Applied Ventures’ investment in Twist underscores our investment strategy to use our core strength in precision materials engineering to promote innovation and to help commercialize Twist’s technology to enhance personalized healthcare and agriculture production,” says Applied Ventures gm Eileen Tanghal.

Twist’s 10,000-well silicon-based manufacturing platform is capable of producing synthetic biology tools, such as oligonucleotides, genes, pathways, chassis and genomes. By transitioning the industry from existing plastic and glass substrates to silicon, the company’s technology has the potential to accelerate the development of personalised medicine, sustainable chemical production, improved agriculture production and related new applications such as in vivo diagnostics, biodetection and data storage.

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