UK's Broken String Biosciences raises €14M to develop … – Silicon Canals

Broken String Biosciences team | Image credit: Broken String Biosciences
Cambridge-based Broken String Biosciences, a genomics company focused on creating safer cell and gene therapies, announced on Monday that it has raised $15M (approximately €14M) in a Series A round of funding. 
The investment was co-led by Illumina Ventures and Mérieux Equity Partners, with contributions from HERAN Partners and participation from existing investors Tencent and Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures. 
As part of this funding, Yoann Bonnamour from Mérieux Equity Partners and Arnaud Autret from Illumina Ventures have joined the Board of Directors of Broken String Biosciences.
Autret says, “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 adds, “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.”
Broken String Biosciences is dedicated to enhancing the safety of cell and gene therapies through comprehensive genome stability assessments. The company is constructing a platform to facilitate the development of inherently safer cell and gene therapies. 

At the core of their technology portfolio is INDUCE-seq, an advanced Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)-based platform specifically designed for mapping DNA breaks.
This platform empowers companies involved in cell and gene therapy development to precisely measure and quantify the specificity of off-target genetic modifications and assess the resulting genetic outcomes.
Broken String Biosciences, originating as a spin-out from Cardiff University in 2020, completed a residency at the Illumina Accelerator in Cambridge, UK. In September 2021, it secured nearly $4M in a Series Seed round from investors across the UK, Germany, and the US.
The company is based in Cambridge, UK, with its headquarters at the BioData Innovation Centre on the Wellcome Genome Campus. They also have laboratory facilities nearby at Chesterford Research Park.
INDUCE-seq, developed by Broken String Biosciences, is a platform for assessing the specificity and safety of genome editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 in the development of cell and gene therapies.
This technology employs a PCR-free (polymerase chain reaction) approach to directly measure and quantify DNA double-strand breaks using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS).
INDUCE-seq provides data-driven insights across various development stages, from discovery to clinical, enabling researchers to identify and mitigate off-target genetic alterations. 
By offering a precise and comprehensive method for evaluating gene editing outcomes, INDUCE-seq contributes to the discovery of new therapeutic targets within the genome and the advancement of gene editing programs.
Felix Dobbs, PhD, CEO of Broken String Biosciences, says, “Our vision is a future where cell and gene therapies are safer, more efficient, and affordable for patients.”
“Operating at the intersection of biology, bioinformatics and data science, our INDUCE-seq platform offers an unbiased, end-to-end solution that expedites the measurement and assessment of off-target gene editing during therapeutic development.” 
“This provides essential information required to progress therapeutic programs that leverage gene editing and mitigate potential risks that can result in later-stage clinical failures.”
“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,” adds Dobbs.
Broken String Biosciences says it will use the money to advance its genomics technology platform, specifically its DNA break mapping platform INDUCE-seq. 
The company aims to transform INDUCE-seq into a scalable ‘Platform-as-a-Service’ (PaaS) offering and expand its capabilities beyond gene editing. 
Additionally, the funds will also support the company’s growth initiatives, including team expansion at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge, UK, and the establishment of a US office. 
It will also help the company broaden its go-to-market strategy and drive commercial traction for its genomics solutions.
Dobbs says, “The support Broken String has received from leading life science and genomics investors demonstrates the potential of our technology and its ability to deliver on the therapeutic promise of gene editing.”
Illumina Ventures is a healthcare-focused venture firm in partnership with Illumina. It specialises in early-stage investments to help entrepreneurs turn groundbreaking science and technologies into successful companies. Their focus areas include life science tools, therapeutics, diagnostics, personal wellness, and sustainability within the healthcare industry.
Mérieux Equity Partners (MxEP) is an AMF-accredited management company specialising in equity investments in healthcare and nutrition. With over €1.5B in AUM, MxEP supports companies and entrepreneurs in these sectors, offering access to its sector expertise and global network. 
HERAN Partners is a Belgian investment fund that helps European startups and scale-ups in the medtech and healthtech fields. They provide financial support, an extensive network, expert guidance, and mentorship to foster growth in their portfolio companies. 
The firm’s first fund, valued at €75.5M, is dedicated to supporting ventures with highly disruptive and scalable technologies in these sectors.
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september, 2023
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Silicon Canals © 2014-2023 | Design: Bright Idiots. Images: Depositphotos


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