Twist Bioscience today announced that it raised $26 million in a Series B financing to commercialize the company's semiconductor-based synthetic gene manufacturing process. Nick and Joby Pritzker, through their family's firm Tao Invest, led the round, with participation from ARCH Venture Partners, Paladin Capital Group, Yuri Milner and additional strategic corporate and venture investors. All existing investors participated in the round.
The company also received a $5.1 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to fund development of Twist's technology platform for the large-scale, high-throughput construction of genetic designs. DARPA granted the contract under the Living Foundries: 1000 Molecules Program, which seeks to build a scalable, integrated, rapid design and prototyping infrastructure for the facile engineering of biology.
"In just 10 months, we have established a top tier leadership and development team, created a working prototype of our 10,000-well silicon platform for synthetic DNA production and raised a total of $40.2 million," said Emily Leproust, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Twist Bioscience. "Today, we have all the necessary components in place to automate and scale our synthetic gene manufacturing process and staff strategically, with the goal of bringing our first products and services to the market in 2015."
Under the leadership of Emily Leproust, Ph.D., chief executive officer, Bill Banyai, Ph.D., chief operating officer, and Bill Peck, Ph.D., chief technology officer, Twist Bioscience plans to hire 80 employees in the fields of informatics, hardware and software engineering, chemistry, biochemistry, sales and marketing, and operations over the course of the next 18 months.