Designed to bypass the oligo bottleneck in genomic research and development, the new platform will build on the success of DNA Script’s recently launched SYNTAX System using their innovative Enzymatic DNA Synthesis technology
DNA Script, a leader in benchtop enzymatic DNA synthesis, today announced that the company has received a $2.2 million grant award from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support the ongoing development of next generation printers to enzymatically print synthetic DNA and RNA as a follow-on to our recently launched SYNTAX System. DNA Script aims to develop a benchtop instrument using Enzymatic DNA Synthesis (EDS) to enable – for the first time – in-house synthesis of high-quality long oligos in a high-multiplex format in less than a day.
Building nucleic acids by traditional chemical synthesis requires the handling of harsh chemicals and disposal of toxic waste. DNA Script’s proprietary EDS technology enables the synthesis of high-quality nucleic acids in a compact space using an aqueous-based chemistry and no toxic organic solvents, making it ideal as the foundation for a benchtop system. The capabilities offered by this next generation of printers from DNA Script enable the manufacturing of thousands to millions of oligos at a time – the scale needed for applications such as large next-generation sequencing (NGS) enrichment panels (e.g., for targeted sequencing and used in many diagnostic workflows, such as liquid biopsy to detect cancer cells), drug discovery and optimization (for making libraries of monoclonal antibodies for expression and screening) or for the synthesis of long genes.
George Church, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics, Blavatnik & Wyss Institute, Harvard Medical School; Director of the Personal Genome Project: “For three decades my team has been pioneering sequencing and synthetic biology technologies, and the acceleration of cost lowering associated with this scale of DNA printing is key for moving the promise of synthetic biology forward. Synthetic biology and molecular data storage have exponentially growing appetites, and the need for radically new methods and instruments is intense. The cycle time associated with chemical DNA synthesis plateaued in the 1980s; yet in less than a decade, I’ve seen tremendous progress in enzymatic DNA synthesis. I strongly support DNA Script’s development of this technology to deliver longer, more accurate sequences using less expensive, less hazardous processes.”
Michael W. Smith, Ph.D., NHGRI Program Director for the Genome Technology Program, which funded the award: “Being able to rapidly synthesize DNA and RNA will profoundly impact our understanding of health, agriculture and even evolution. NHGRI’s grant to DNA Script shows our dedication to making nucleic acid synthesis advances a genomic approach to truly look out for.”
Thomas Ybert, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of DNA Script: “The turnaround time of oligo service delivery is a major bottleneck in the research and development of genetically engineered therapeutics, diagnostics, vaccines and industrial materials. DNA Script’s EDS platform is a disruptive technology that we are confident will speed the process to deliver results within days rather than weeks. We are thrilled to have this type of R01 grant award from the NHGRI and the NIH — which usually goes to academic researchers — as it underscores the global importance of eliminating the oligo bottleneck in research and development. We are confident that our next generation of enzymatic DNA synthesis printers will be successful in democratizing access to high-fidelity, low-cost nucleic acids.”