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Synthace raises a £7.3m Series A to bring open source to biotech

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Synthace, a UK startup using open source technology to make process in biotechnology move faster, has raises a £7.3m Series A round. New investors White Cloud Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners and Eleven Two Capital participated alongside existing investors that included Sofinnova Partners, SOSV and Bioeconomy Capital.

The Company’s Antha operating system replaces processes which are currently done, almost, by hand.

CEO Tim Fell says the company came out of the desire to better engineer biology: “Our need to heal, feed, fuel and manufacture for a growing population can be met by unlocking the near infinite power of biology but only by bringing software abstraction and more automation to biological R&D and manufacturing, and by enabling biologists to build atop their collective work. That is what the Antha platform does.”

The funding will be used to expand its eco-system of biologists, lab instrumentation manufacturers, reagent and consumable suppliers, bio-design and analysis software developers and cloud providers.

Isabel Fox, Head of Venture at White Cloud Capital, commented: “Synthace is transforming the way biotechnology is developed and the $170bn global life science R&D budget spent. The traction the Company has achieved with pharmaceutical, agritech and industrial biotechnology customers shows the cross-sector applicability of Antha.”

Hermann Hauser, Co-Founder and Partner, Amadeus Capital Partners, said: “Biotechnology has mass application, a true general purpose technology. Its development is challenging and Synthace is empowering biotechnologists to better understand and work with its complex nature.”

In simple terms, the company sells a software platform that makes it much easier for researchers to develop biotechnology products and bring them to market. That may be drugs, crops or materials and products made using biology rather than from petrochemicals.

The idea is to make it easier for scientists to develop biotechnology products and bring them to market.

It could be compared to Ginkgo or Zymergen, who have in their own ways developed an automated technology stack for engineering the microbes they license to others. However, Synthace is more about productizing the technology.

In the fall of 2016 they developed an MVP and installed it in first customer, Dow Agrosciences. Merck & Co started using it in January 2017 and since then they have been rolling the product out to companies such as GSK and Fujifilm Diosynth in the Pharma industry and tech companies such as Microsoft who are gearing up their biology capabilities and activities.