Striving to Commercialize CRISPR, Inscripta Lands $55M

The gene-editing start-up doesn’t demand licensing fees and royalties from academic and commercial researchers.

Images have been resized. Courtesy of Inscripta.

Over the past couple of decades, much of the venture capital in the genomics universe has fueled genome sequencing—that is, reading. The more recent rise of CRISPR and similar technologies, however, have flipped the script, prodding more backers to put their money behind companies involved with gene editing—writing. The latest such start-up to score a big investment is Inscripta, which announced today $55.5 million in Series C funding.

The Boulder, Colorado-based gene-editing outfit said it plans to use the money to expand its roster of scientists and engineers, with positions open in microfluidics, genomics, cell biology, synthetic biology, and computational biology. Further, the windfall is poised to help Inscripta “accelerate” the development and commercialization of its suite of gene-editing instruments, reagents, and software.

“Gene editing is one of the most exciting scientific advancements of this young century, but to realize its full potential, researchers need to have better, more scalable tools to forward engineer proteins, pathways and genomes,” said Kevin Ness, CEO of Inscripta, who predicted continued financial investment in genome writing.

The added capital followed a notable step forward for the start-up. In late 2017, it unveiled its first CRISPR enzyme, MAD7. Inscripta has touted not only the potential of that enzyme but also its availability to researchers in both the academic and business worlds. They may access MAD7 with “no up-front licensing fees or ‘reach-through royalties’ on products made using the technology,” according to Inscripta, adding that it aims to “re-shape” and open up genome engineering.

“Inscripta is unique in building the best set of tools that allow researchers and industrial players to engineer strains and enzymes, while owning the fruits of their results outright,” noted François Valencony, general manager at Merieux Développement, a co-leader of the Series C funding round.

Paladin Capital Group joined Merieux in heading the financing blitz. Venrock, Foresite, MLS Capital, and NanoDimension—all of which had previously invested in Inscripta—also provided capital, according to the announcement.

The move raises Inscripta’s total funding amount to $84.5 million, according to the start-up tracker Crunchbase. The company launched in 2015 and earned its first investment by the start of 2016, with another $23 million coming exactly 1 year ago today.

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