Inscripta Snags $55.5 Million in Funding, Looks to Expand Employment
Published: Feb 28, 2018 By Alex Keown
Gene-editing company Inscripta, formerly known as Muse Biotechnologies, will be able to expand its research capabilities and increase hiring after the company closed a Series C funding round of $55.5 million.
The new funding comes two months after the company rebranded itself as Inscripta and announced it was giving away its CRISPR enzyme MAD7 for free to researchers. In December Inscripta Chief Executive Officer Kevin Ness said making the CRISPR enzyme available to researchers provides a clear path to pursue new discoveries with that enzyme. Inscripta said giving away the enzyme was the first step in the company's path to “re-shape forward genome engineering and make it more accessible” for the research community.
CRISPR refers to Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats that occur in the genome of certain bacteria, from which the system was discovered. CRISPR has applications in multiple indications, including treating disease as well as agricultural uses.
Inscripta’s MAD7 is an early release from a family of novel RNA-guided nucleases, the company said. MAD7 is part of the Madagascar family of enzymes, dubbed MADzymes. The MAD7 enzyme has been used to alter the DNA of E. coli, a bacteria, and S. cerevisiae, a particular type of yeast.
"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," Ness said in a statement this morning after the new funding was announced. "The past 20 years of genomic advancements have been in the field of genome reading, but we believe that future advancements in biology will be in the applications of genome writing."
Based in Boulder, Colo., Inscripta said its Series C funding round was led by Mérieux Développement and Paladin Capital Group. Those investors were supported by existing Inscripta investors Venrock, Foresite, MLS Capital and NanoDimension.
Inscripta said the $55.5 million will accelerate the company’s development and commercialization of gene-editing tools, including instruments, reagents, and software, and “grow the company's expert team.” In its announcement, Inscripta did not provide information as to how many new hires the company will be looking to hire. On its online jobs portal, Inscripta lists a number of open positions at both its Boulder site and Pleasanton, Calif. facility. Advertised jobs include senior data scientist, senior data scientist, software engineer, senior scientist with a specialization in cellular biology and more. In its announcement, Inscripta said the positions offer growth opportunities for its employees and added the company is significantly expanding its commercialization efforts.