biotechnology

  • Bio
    CRISPR-Cas9 inventor Jennifer Doudna’s plans on moving forward, genetically modifying humans

    CRISPR-Cas9 inventor Jennifer Doudna’s plans on moving forward, genetically modifying humans

    The decision of who owned the rights to a hotly disputed CRISPR gene editing patent came down in favor of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard today so you’d think the mood would be sour at the University of California, Berkeley, the other contender in the case. But Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna tells TechCrunch this is a positive for her. “I’m actually delighted to know… Read More

  • Bio
    Women’s health startup Celmatix now offers genetic testing for fertility issues

    Women’s health startup Celmatix now offers genetic testing for fertility issues

    Celmatix, a startup with a focus on personalized medicine for women, wants to take some of the mystery out of the science of baby-making with a new type of DNA-based fertility test called Fertilome. Fertilome looks at 49 variants in 32 genes that give you a likelihood or not for inherited disorders such as endometriosis or PCOS to help women determine the best course of action to take based… Read More

  • Bio
    Illumina wants to sequence your whole genome for $100

    Illumina wants to sequence your whole genome for $100

    The first sequencing of the whole human genome in 2003 cost roughly $2.7 billion, but DNA sequencing giant Illumina has now unveiled a new machine that the company says is “expected one day” to order up your whole genome for less than $100. Illumina’s CEO Francis deSouza showed off the machine, called the NovaSeq, onstage at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in downtown… Read More

  • Bio
    Genalyte raises $36 million from Khosla for its one-drop blood test

    Genalyte raises $36 million from Khosla for its one-drop blood test

    Theranos competitor Genalyte just announced it has raised an equity round of $36 million in funding led by Khosla Ventures and Redmile Group. The San Diego-based startup leverages lab-on-a-chip technology it says can run through up to 128 different tests on a single finger prick of blood in under 15 minutes using what it calls its Maverick Detection Platform. Genalyte’s proprietary… Read More

  • Bio
    Chinese scientists CRISPR a human for the first time

    Chinese scientists CRISPR a human for the first time

    A group of Chinese scientists injected a human being with cells genetically edited using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. This is the first time CRISPR has been used on a fully formed adult human and it’s encouraged a biomedical battle between China and the United States. The scientists from China are hoping the genetically edited cells will help their patient fend off a virulent type of… Read More

  • Bio
    Genetics startup Genos wants to pay you for your DNA data

    Genetics startup Genos wants to pay you for your DNA data

    The first whole human genome sequencing cost a whopping $2.7 billion. That didn’t bode well for making any breakthroughs on genetic disorders. Luckily, the cost has dropped dramatically since then, leading to a new breed of consumer genetics startups taking a deeper dive into all the double helix’s that make up you. Genos is one of those startups using a next-generation… Read More

  • Bio
    Gut health startup uBiome has raised $15.5 million and is launching a DNA test for your poop

    Gut health startup uBiome has raised $15.5 million and is launching a DNA test for your poop

    There are a lot of startups looking at your DNA these days but uBiome stands out as unique among them for testing the DNA of microorganisms found in your fecal matter. These bugs have a lot to do with your health and the startup is launching a clinical screening test called SmartGut to sequence the DNA of those microbes. uBiome tells TechCrunch it has also closed on $15.5 million in Series… Read More

  • Bio
    Jeff Bezos, Mayo Clinic back anti-aging startup Unity Biotechnology for $116 million

    Jeff Bezos, Mayo Clinic back anti-aging startup Unity Biotechnology for $116 million

    Every once in a while someone in Silicon Valley brings up the possibility of living forever, or at least a really long time, but first we’re going to need to figure out a way to enjoy all those extra years. Unity Biotechnology is a startup focusing on medicines to help us do that by slowing the effects of age-related diseases. And the company announced it has pulled in a whopping… Read More

  • 23andMe reportedly no longer working on next-gen sequencing

    23andMe reportedly no longer working on next-gen sequencing

    23andMe won’t continue with next-generation DNA sequencing and has reportedly laid off the lab working on the project. About half-a-dozen workers were laid off from the Salt Lake City, Utah-based lab, according to BuzzFeed, which first reported the news. By our own count based on LinkedIn, at least five members of the lab have been let go, including its chief medical officer, Dr. Read More

  • Bio
    Scientists made babies from mouse skin cells

    Scientists made babies from mouse skin cells

    A group of Japanese scientists from Kyushu University has successfully turned mouse skin cells into baby mice without the use of egg cells. The technology skips over the usual method of fertilizing egg cells with sperm and instead uses a method to grow the cells with the necessary chromosomal pairs needed for life to begin. This is the first time something like this has ever been achieved… Read More

  • Bio
    Biotech startup Zymergen nabs $130 million from Softbank

    Biotech startup Zymergen nabs $130 million from Softbank

    Zymergen, a Bay Area startup creating all sorts of materials from genetically altered microbes, just raised $130 million in Series B funding from Softbank. For those unfamiliar, the company makes crazy new materials out of genetically altered microbes. It was busy buying up a bunch of robots to make these microbes for mass production of various materials during its last round of funding. CEO… Read More

  • The biotech empires of Silicon Valley and Europe Crunch Network

    The biotech empires of Silicon Valley and Europe

    As biotechnology gains prominence among investors, two hubs have emerged as hotbeds of innovation for the resurgent industry. While the two-square-mile patch of South San Francisco bustles with more than 70 biotech firms, including Genentech, Amgen and Exelixis, an equally influential geography has grown along the Lemanic Arc of Switzerland and into the heart of Basel, where pharma… Read More

  • Bio
    A federal safety board just OK’d the first CRISPR trial to genetically alter humans

    A federal safety board just OK’d the first CRISPR trial to genetically alter humans

    In the spring of 2015, a group of Chinese scientists modified the DNA of 54 embryos using CRISPR/Cas 9 technology. Twenty-eight of those embryos were successful, but 26 — nearly half of them — failed, setting off a heated debate throughout the scientific community on the ethics of altering human genes. Regulators don’t currently allow the use of CRISPR on human DNA in the… Read More

  • Bio
    Ginkgo Bioworks grabs $100 million in financing to buy a whole lot of synthetic DNA

    Ginkgo Bioworks grabs $100 million in financing to buy a whole lot of synthetic DNA

    Ginko Bioworks, the Boston-based biotech startup making all sorts of scents and flavors from microbugs, has pulled in $100 million in Series C funding to obtain 600 million base pairs of manufactured DNA – or what Ginkgo claims is the “largest amount of synthetic DNA ever purchased.” The startup plans to use the millions of genetic base pairs to test its production metal in… Read More

  • Bio
    Genetics startup Twist Bioscience is working with Microsoft to store the world’s data in DNA

    Genetics startup Twist Bioscience is working with Microsoft to store the world’s data in DNA

    Twist Bioscience, a startup making and using synthetic DNA to store digital data, just struck a contract with Microsoft and the University of Washington to encode vast amounts of information on synthetic genes. Big data means business and the company able to gather a lot of it is very valuable to investors and stockholders. But that data needs to be stored somewhere and can cost a lot for… Read More

  • Bio
    CRISPR creates a way out of regulation for GMO food

    CRISPR creates a way out of regulation for GMO food

    Genetically modified crops are in the midst of a metamorphosis thanks to new gene-editing technology. The latest example is a white button mushroom genetically edited using CRISPR, or the ability to snip out and rearrange parts of an organism’s DNA. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it won’t regulate the mushroom because it doesn’t pose a possible threat like GMO… Read More

  • Bio
    Citizen scientists, you can now DIY your own DNA analysis with Bento Lab

    Citizen scientists, you can now DIY your own DNA analysis with Bento Lab

    Want to know if you have the “athlete gene” or if you’re actually related to the weirdos who claim you as a family member? Get your collection tubes ready, citizen scientists, Bento Lab’s DIY DNA analysis kit is here and ready for the in-home lab. Normally you’d order a kit somewhere like 23andMe, spit in a tube and mail it off for results in six to eight weeks. Read More

  • Bio
    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen pledges $100 million toward cutting-edge biotech research

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen pledges $100 million toward cutting-edge biotech research

    Investor, entrepreneur, billionaire and Bill Gates’ other half in the founding of Microsoft Paul Allen has announced a $100 million investment in the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, a fund focusing on the future of biotech research. Allen, who is worth about $15.3 billion, announced the investment today at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. The purpose of this… Read More

  • For less than $1,000 you can now pull up your entire genome on your smartphone

    For less than $1,000 you can now pull up your entire genome on your smartphone

    Veritas Genetics was one of the first companies to sequence the entire human genome for less than $1,000 in 2015. It’s now taken that technology a step further by delivering the results of your entire genome in an app. To put in context just how radical this is, consider the first attempt at whole human genome sequencing required $3.7 billion to produce in 2001. It wasn’t until… Read More