TwinStrand raises $16M from Madrona and others for next-gen DNA sequencing, promising early cancer detection and other breakthroughs

TwinStrand Biosciences, a Seattle startup creating next-generation DNA sequencing know-how that guarantees to result in early cancer detection, speedy identification of carcinogens and other breakthroughs, has raised $16 million in a Sequence A funding spherical led by Madrona Venture Group.

The corporate, a College of Washington spinout, says its DNA sequencing methodology, generally known as Duplex Sequencing, makes use of cloud applied sciences and superior error-correction algorithms to permit researchers and clinicians to search out uncommon genetic variants with 10,000 instances extra accuracy than normal sequencing methods.

TwinStrand, which has just below 30 workers, is planning to launch its first product this quarter. Based in 2015, it’s a part of an rising discipline of corporations creating superior DNA sequencing methods in the hunt for new insights into the human genetic code, constructing on advances pioneered within the Human Genome Venture greater than 15 years in the past.

“We’re targeted on actually pushing the envelope to deal with fully unmet wants and advance what genetic evaluation know-how can do sooner or later — not simply what’s potential now, however what we’re going to make potential a yr, two years, three years down the street,” mentioned Jesse Salk, TwinStrand’s CEO, chief scientific officer and co-founder, a molecular biologist and medical oncologist who invented Duplex Sequencing with colleagues on the College of Washington.

Madrona’s funding in TwinStrand was led by Terry Myerson, the previous high Microsoft Home windows and Gadgets government who joined the firm as a venture partner last year. Myerson in contrast TwinStrand’s know-how to error-correction methods utilized in huge storage arrays in cloud knowledge facilities.

“While you’re doing high-scale software program and storing terabytes of information on unreliable disc drives and replicating it round knowledge facilities, you may have some very comparable issues,” Myerson mentioned. “To have the ability to do this with our DNA has unimaginable potential.”

TwinStrand says its know-how has purposes together with monitoring for residual cancer after remedy, along with early cancer detection. It permits personalised therapies and quicker drug improvement, and additionally considerably accelerates the method of genetic toxicology, figuring out whether or not particular chemical substances are carcinogens by analyzing the genetic impression.

Other potential purposes embody crime scene forensics and diagnosing fetal genetic well being.

Other traders taking part within the Sequence A spherical embody Alexandria Enterprise Investments, Ridgeback Capital and Sahsen Ventures. Of the spherical, $12 million was new capital, and $4 million was transformed from notes beforehand issued to the corporate. TwinStrand beforehand raised $5.5 million in seed funding and $6.4 million in Small Enterprise Innovation Analysis grants.

TwinStrand says it can use the brand new funding to speed up its product pipeline and help the expansion of its company infrastructure and pharmaceutical partnerships.

Myerson has joined the TwinStrand board with the funding. He mentioned Madrona is paying shut consideration to the intersection of pc science and life sciences, and expects these areas to provide far more innovation within the years forward.

Salk mentioned Seattle’s energy as a know-how hub positions it to emerge as a stronger middle for next-generation biotech ventures, alongside present life sciences areas similar to San Diego and Boston.

Others on the TwinStrand board embody OVP Enterprise Companions managing director Chad Waite and former Alder Biopharmaceuticals chairman Steve Dow.

Salk is the grandson of the late Jonas Salk, the scientist who found and developed the polio vaccine. Requested about his grandfather in an interview with GeekWire, the TwinStrand CEO mentioned the connection “had a fairly sizable impression on how I view what I do with my life, and how I work in scientific groups and contribute to the broader neighborhood.”

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