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CRISPR Bioinformatics Startup Latch Bio Emerges From Stealth With $5M in Seed Funding

NEW YORK – Bioinformatics startup firm Latch Bio emerged from stealth mode on Friday with $5 million in seed funding.

The funding round was led by Lux Capital, with participation from General Catalyst, Haystack, Fifty Years, and Asimov cofounder and CEO Alec Nielsen.

The company — which was founded in 2021 by University of California, Berkeley researchers Alfredo Andere, Kyle Giffin, and Kenny Workman — plans to build computing infrastructure for scientists who need ready-to-run solutions to advance their research. Its Latch platform, which was also launched Friday, is a web-based tool that will enable any biologist to analyze CRISPR data without any code or cloud infrastructure setup, the company said, addressing some of the primary challenges facing CRISPR researchers, such as access to bioinformatics experts and the implementation of cloud resources.

The Latch platform gives researchers a centralized resource for storing, transforming, and visualizing their data without writing any code. It provides plugins that allow users to import files from their existing data stack, including Amazon S3, Benchling, and Illumina's BaseSpace. Researchers will also have access to several workflows, including CRISPResso, MAGeCK, CasTLE, Cas.py, MultiQC, and CasOffinder, among others.

The Latch platform is being offered free to academic research users, the company said.

"CRISPR scientists who are committed to changing the world deserve the best software, and at Latch we actually listen to them, then build what they want,” Giffin, the company's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Andere, the company's CEO, added that the firm plans to work with its advisers and growing user base to further expand the platform's capabilities.

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