GenapSys said it has completed a $90 million Series C financing round, with the proceeds set to fund commercialization of a namesake sequencer that according to the company will be the 100 times smaller and more affordable than current high-throughput sequencers.
In addition to driving the commercial launch of the first-generation product, called the GenapSys Sequencer, the financing will also be used toward growing the company’s interdisciplinary team, and continuing innovation efforts.
GenapSys’ sequencing system is about the size of an iPad, costs under $10,000, and is based on a proprietary direct electronic sequencing chip, which is intended to eliminate the need for cumbersome equipment.
GenapSys carries out sequencing on microfluidic chips that have a scalable number of detectors, designed to allow for applications ranging from targeted sequencing of specific amplicons to genome-scale data collection. The system uses what the company says is the first ever purely electrical sequencing chip, the key component in its fully integrated proprietary platform.
The company’s next-generation sequencing technology uses its own Sequencing-by-Synthesis chemistry that employs electrical-based detection of single nucleotide incorporations—as well as Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS)-based detectors, simple fluidics, and no moving parts. GenapSys says its sequencer routinely generates sequence data that exceeds >80% of bases >Q30 with average read lengths of >150 bp.
GenapSys has also cited a study conducted by The Jackson Laboratory, which found that the company’s sequencers delivered consistent and excellent performance across a variety of biological samples.
At the recent 2019 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG), held in Houston, investigators from The Jackson Laboratory presented the results of a study that found that the GenapSys sequencers were superior to optical detection methods in detecting single nucleotide mutations. A preprint of the study was published in April in bioRvix.
The GenapSys sequencer is currently available for order in the U.S., the company said, with global sales set to begin in early 2020.
“We are entering a multi-decade era of genomics that will revolutionize many industries, including healthcare diagnostics, pharmaceutical discovery, personalized medicine, food testing, forensics, agriculture, biology and beyond—but until now, we’ve lacked the access necessary to realize this potential,” GenapSys CEO and Founder Hesaam Esfandyarpour, Ph.D., said in a statement. “With our new sequencer, we can rapidly enable and scale genomics power to every researcher, physician, provider and patient around the world.”
Esfandyarpour and colleagues founded GenapSys in 2010 after developing several novel technologies for DNA sequencing and protein detection at Stanford Genome Technology Center. The privately-held company is headquartered in Redwood City, CA.
Foresite Capital led the Series C financing, which brought GenapSys’ total capital raised to date to $166 million.
“We believe high accuracy, low-cost distributed sequencing will enable a much larger market for sequencing,” added Jim Tananbaum, co-founder and managing director of Foresite Capital. “We’re very excited about the potential in this area.”
In connection with the financing, GenapSys said, it has appointed three veteran biotech executives to its Board of Directors: Hamid Moghadam, CEO and Chairman of Prologis; Rakesh Sachdev, former CEO of Sigma-Aldrich (which combined with Merck KGaA’s EMD Millipore to form today’s MilliporeSigma) and Platform Specialty Products Corporation (now Element Solutions); and Frank Witney, Ph.D., former CEO of Affymetrix and Dionex.
The three will join GenapSys’ Scientific Advisory Board, whose members are genetics research pioneers that include Ronald W. Davis, Ph.D., Director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center; George Church, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School; Eric Topol, M.D., Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute; and Michael P. Snyder, Ph.D., Director of the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine.