Stealthy Gen9 Rolls Out BioFab for Large-Scale Gene Manufacturing

7/17/12Follow @arleneweintraub

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DNA constructs it calls GeneBits, using proprietary gene-synthesizing technologies that give it manufacturing capacity that’s similar to “fabs”—the automated facilities used to produce silicon chips. Munnelly says that Gen9’s 6,500-square-foot fabrication facility in Cambridge will have the capacity to produce genes at a rate equivalent to at least half of what all its competitors combined can make today.

Gen9 began marketing its offerings to select customers in March, Munnelly says. He declines to disclose the company’s customers, except to say it’s a “mix from various industries.”

Gen9’s founding team is certainly well known in the world of genomics. George Church, for example, helped develop gene sequencing and helped launch the Human Genome Project. He has also had a hand in a number of genomics-technology startups, including Ion Torrent Systems, which was bought by Life Technologies in 2010, and Warp Drive Bio, a Cambridge, MA-based company that started up in January with $125 million from Third Rock and French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, among others. (Church also serves as one of our Xconomists.)

Munnelly says Gen9 is seeking additional funding to scale up its internal operations and build its product-development staff. “We’ll establish a commercial infrastructure so we can more broadly market this technology to the community,” he says. He adds that the company will continue to reveal elements of its product offerings in the coming weeks. “We’re just coming out of stealth mode right now. Stay tuned.”

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  • Jerry Jeff

    Thanks for introducing this company. Is there any detailed information about what makes their process special? Is it a novel approach to DNA synthesis chemistry compared to the competitors? More automation? Miniaturization? Is it the second try for the Codon Devices technology? Is a “GeneBit” an oligo? It will be great to learn more as they come into the public eye.