Desktop Genetics (DTG), a biotech company which is hoping to revolutionise the way biologists use Crispr genome editing technology, has announced it is raising £1.5m on online investment platform SyndicateRoom.
DTG has developed a product, using artificial intelligence and machine learning, to assist biologists in developing new treatments more efficiently.
It creates libraries of gene-changing “reagents” for Crispr, a system which allows for the permanent manipulation of genes and is being explored as a method to correct genetic diseases.
“If you think of something like a cancer cell, it's a tangle of interconnecting proteins and signalling pathways. It's like a spy-movie time bomb with all the wires inside. You have to figure out which wires to cut to diffuse the bomb,” said DTG's chief executive Riley Doyle.
The Crispr reagents can “cut” each of these wires in turn, he explained, to help scientists identify which wire affects the right part of the target cell.
DTG's Deskgen libraries are developed using machine learning and algorithms which mine information from a huge catalogue of previous research, so scientists can predict how the reagents will perform with a high probability of success.
This means they no longer have to go through the expensive process of making and testing their own.
“Desktop Genetics’ use of AI in customising Crispr libraries is enabling more efficient drug discovery, genomics and cell therapy – which is a massive step towards the reality of genomic medicine,” said Tom Britton, co-founder of SyndicateRoom.
SyndicateRoom allows individual investors to commit to projects on the same terms as a professional lead investor – in this case Jonathan Milner, the co-founder of life sciences company Abcam.