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Camena Bioscience raises £7.9m for DNA synthesis platform

Camena Bioscience Image credit: Cavan-Images via Shutterstock

Camena Bioscience, a health tech startup providing genes to the pharmaceutical industry, has announced a $10m (£7.9m) Series A round.

Founded in 2016, Camena Bioscience has developed a process to make and sell synthetic enzyme-based genes to support biotech research and drug discovery.

The Cambridge-based firm said that its enzymatic technology is more accurate and cost effective than traditional DNA synthesis methods.

“The ability to read, write and manipulate DNA is the foundation of the synthetic biology value chain, yet developments in DNA synthesis have not kept pace with DNA sequencing and editing capabilities,” said Dr Steve Harvey, co-founder and CEO of Camena Bioscience.

“As the focus on sustainability and supply-chain security become more acute, Camena is leading the way with a green synthesis technology and is already well positioned to serve this burgeoning market.”

Harvey added that the goal of the company is to enable customers to “write DNA” with the same “confidence and ease” as sequencing technology has allowed them to “read DNA”.

The invention of next-generation DNA sequencing technologies transformed our ability to “read” DNA. Our goal is to enable our customers to “write” DNA with the same confidence and ease.”

The financing was led by Mercia and will be used to scale operations and continue development of its gSynth synthesis platform.

“The market for synthetic genes is growing rapidly but much of the demand is for complex genes which are extremely difficult to produce accurately,” said Lee Lindley, investment manager at Mercia.

“Camena’s technology is a game changer that could unlock a much bigger global market.  We’re excited to support Camena on its next stage of growth.”