Ansa Biotechnologies Raises $68 Million In Series A Funding

By Dan Anderson ● Apr 14, 2022
  • Ansa Biotechnologies recently announced it raised a $68 million round of funding. These are the details.

Ansa Biotechnologies recently announced it has closed an oversubscribed Series A financing round of $68 million led by Northpond Ventures with participation from new investors RA Capital, Blue Water Life Science Advisors, Altitude Life Science Ventures, Fiscus Ventures, PEAK6 Strategic Capital, Carbon Silicon Ventures, Codon Capital, and existing investors Mubadala Capital, Humboldt Fund, Fifty Years, and Horizons Ventures. With this funding round, the company has raised a total of $82 million from private financings to date.

The funding round will be used to accelerate the development of Ansa’s next-generation enzymatic DNA synthesis technology based on polymerase-nucleotide conjugates, build high-throughput synthesizers, and launch its DNA synthesis service. And to support this development, Ansa will expand its R&D and manufacturing facilities and will grow its multidisciplinary team across biochemistry, chemistry, engineering, bioinformatics, and operations.

Ansa is on a mission for streamlining the writing of DNA to power the next era of DNA-enabled industries. And currently, DNA is synthesized via a chemical method that has remained mostly unchanged for 40 years and uses harsh conditions that damage the growing molecules, limiting the length and accuracy of the DNA that is produced. Ansa’s novel enzymatic synthesis technology harnesses the power of nature’s machinery to synthesize DNA in an entirely new way that is substantially faster and more accurate than the chemical method.

Since Ansa’s method uses exquisitely precise enzymes instead of harsh chemicals for all steps of the synthesis process, it does not damage the growing DNA as it is made, enabling the direct synthesis of sequences that are hundreds or possibly even thousands of bases long. And these long molecules streamline the construction of even longer sequences and greatly facilitate the construction of complex sequences that power emerging synthetic biology applications but are difficult for current vendors to produce.

Ansa’s enzyme-based approach will dramatically accelerate innovation across almost every industry enabled by synthetic DNA – from biologic therapeutics such as antibodies, gene therapies, and cell therapies – to the biomanufacturing of chemicals, materials, foods, and biofuels, and even to futuristic applications such as DNA-based data storage. The technology also has the potential to unlock new areas of life sciences research that have yet to be explored.

The company co-Founders Daniel Lin-Arlow and Sebastian Palluk were the first to describe a practical enzymatic method for the de novo synthesis of DNA sequences. And the patented method, published in Nature Biotechnology in 2018, is based on polymerase-nucleotide conjugates that can rapidly extend a DNA molecule by one base at a time. The conjugates, which comprise a template-independent polymerase tethered to a single nucleotide via a linker, offer significant advantages in terms of cost, speed, and flexibility over other enzymatic synthesis approaches based on free nucleotides.

Ansa’s technology has a much wider impact beyond life sciences applications. Last year, the company announced a collaboration with Microsoft to develop a set of enzymatic reagents for sustainable DNA-based data storage, and the company is actively exploring partnerships in other application areas.

KEY QUOTES:

“Enzymatic DNA synthesis is rapidly becoming a commercial reality, and I believe we have the most advanced technology in terms of speed, length, and accuracy. We’re excited to have the support of our top-tier investor syndicate led by Northpond Ventures, and we look forward to bringing our enzymatically synthesized DNA to the market. To achieve this goal, we will be rapidly expanding our interdisciplinary team to build our synthesizers, scale up production of our reagents, and launch our service.”

— Daniel Lin-Arlow, Ph.D., CEO & Co-founder of Ansa Biotechnologies

“Currently, the ability to write long and complex DNA is a critical bottleneck in the broader life sciences industry. We believe Ansa’s fully enzymatic process of DNA synthesis will usher in a new era in which the delivery of high-quality and more accurate DNA sequences in a timely manner to end users will become the new industry standard. Northpond is excited to support Ansa who we think will become a leader in the enzymatic DNA synthesis space, and to work alongside the Ansa team to bring this advantaged technology to market.”

— Lily Li, Ph.D., Principal at Northpond Ventures

“Ansa’s unparalleled enzymatic approach is well poised to set the new standard for DNA synthesis speed and accuracy. We are excited to further our partnership with Ansa to support the development of this powerful technology, addressing synthetic biology’s burning need for improved writing of the DNA code.”

— Patrick Zhang of Horizons Ventures