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Gene Editing Company Inscripta Acquires Solana Biosciences

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Gene editing technology company Inscripta said today that it plans to acquire Solana Biosciences, a life sciences company founded in 2017 by former Illumina employees.

The acquisition will help accelerate the commercialization of Inscripta's gene editing tools by assembling a life science product development and manufacturing pipeline for precision gene editing, the firm said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Inscripta — which is chaired by John Stuelpnagel, who was also the cofounder and first CEO of Illumina — made news last December when it released a new CRISPR enzyme it had developed free of charge to the research community. The enzyme, called MAD7, is part of the so-called Madagascar family of novel RNA-guided nucleases that Inscripta is developing.

It was initially characterized in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli, but in July, Inscripta said that it had successfully characterized MAD7's editing capability in mammalian cells as well. The company also released MAD2, another enzyme in the Madagascar family.

"Inscripta is building the tools to take on the next frontier of gene editing discoveries. The addition of the Solana team brings world-class scientific product development, manufacturing, and operations experience to further enable Inscripta to provide the best gene editing tools to both commercial and academic researchers," Inscripta CEO Kevin Ness said in a statement.

Solana has launched and produced hundreds of products, including DNA sequencing solutions, Inscripta added. During their time at Illumina, Solana's founders and team members built adaptable and scalable manufacturing operations.

Following the acquisition, Tom Rosso, Solana's cofounder and the former vice president of operations at Illumina, will become Inscripta's vice president of operations and will lead the process development, technology transfer, manufacturing, and operations teams at the company. Inscripta is also planning to expand operations and open a new office in San Diego.

Inscripta closed a $55.5 million Series C funding round in March that was led by Mérieux Développement and Paladin Capital Group, which it noted would be used to expand its research capabilities, strengthen its internal team of research experts, and accelerate its development and commercialization of gene editing tools, including instruments, reagents, and software.