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Inscripta Closes $150M Series E Financing Round

This article has been updated from a previous version to clarify information about Inscripta's early-access program and development plans for Onyx.

NEW YORK – Genome engineering company Inscripta said on Monday that it has closed a $150 million Series E financing round led by Fidelity Management & Research as well as funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates.

New investors D1 Capital Partners and Durable Capital Partners, as well as existing investors Foresite Capital, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and JS Capital also participated in the funding round. The company raised a total of $105.5 million in a Series C round that concluded in April 2019 after two expansions, and $125 million in a Series D round in December 2019.

Inscripta has also started shipping its Onyx platform commercially, and said the University of Liverpool's synthetic biology foundry GeneMill is the first customer in Europe to receive an Onyx.

The automated benchtop instrument, which was launched in 2019, is designed to work with an integrated suite of software, reagents, and nucleases in a way that combines the principles behind CRISPR gene editing, single-cell genomics, and synthetic biology into one technological platform that performs genome editing at unprecedented scale.

In January 2020, the first instrument was slated to go to New York University's Jef Boeke through an early-access program, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic those plans changed and the first platform ultimately went to genetic engineering firm Sestina Bio, according to an Inscripta spokesperson.

The black box, which is approximately the size of a benchtop sequencer, has a list price of $347,000. Inscripta promised that Onyx would be able to multiple types of edits, starting with yeast and Escherichia coli. The company also said that another platform for editing mammalian cells is on its development roadmap.

Now, the company said, users can use the instrument to design genome-scale libraries; generate millions of precisely edited cells using customized kits; test and characterize thousands of edits using genotyping assays, followed by pooled or isolated phenotyping; and analyze the effects of individual edits using the same genotyping assays and custom-built software.

"Inscripta's Onyx is an extraordinarily powerful platform that will enable high-throughput genome editing and analysis," Douglas Kell, a researcher at the University of Liverpool and principal investigator of a project funded under the UK's Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council's ALERT 19 competition, said in a statement. "It will revolutionize our abilities in synthetic biology."