Codon Devices Successfully Completes Significant NIH Pilot
Supports government initiative to collect all human & mouse genes for research
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Codon Devices, the leader in the emerging field of Constructive Biology ™ , today presented to the Mammalian Gene Collection (MGC) the company's final results from the MGC Gene Synthesis Pilot. The pilot, involving technically complex DNA constructs, was launched to determine feasibility of applying gene synthesis technology to complete the MGC's library. Codon Devices delivered all 21 assigned protein- coding gene sequences on time with perfect fidelity.
The Mammalian Gene Collection is an NIH initiative to create a library of full-length clones of all human and mouse genes. These gene collections provide a key repository for researchers in both biomedical science and in basic biology. Their contents are thus a critical public resource for improving the quality of human health and the understanding of mammalian biology.
The pilot involved constructing a diverse set of genes comprising a total of approximately 65,000 nucleotides. One of the genes was longer than 11,000 nucleotides. Several genes contained technical complexities, such as repeated sequences, guanine and cytosine (GC) content greater than 80%, and segments that tend to fold or bend upon themselves.
Brian M. Baynes, Chief Scientific Officer and Founder of Codon Devices, who presented the results to the MGC steering committee today, said: "These results help to establish gene synthesis as an effective, economical alternative to cloning. Our success in this project demonstrates that we can cost-effectively deliver long and complex genetic constructs with rapid turnaround and perfect accuracy. Codon Devices supports this NIH initiative and looks forward to being an important partner to help meet the objectives of the Mammalian Gene Collection."
Codon Devices President and CEO John P. Danner said, "Our success in the MGC pilot is a great testament to the power of Codon Devices' highly automated BioFAB ™ platform. Our proprietary design informatics, in conjunction with our quick-turn, low-cost gene synthesis capabilities, will make fully engineered biology a reality to numerous large marketplaces, such as molecular biology, drug discovery, vaccine development, pharmaceutical manufacturing, agriculture, and renewable energy. The widespread impact of this technology will usher in a new era of Constructive Biology ™ .
About Codon Devices
Codon Devices, based in Cambridge, MA, is a privately-held biotechnology company focused on enabling commercial applications of synthetic biology. Codon Devices' proprietary synthesis and design technologies improve the productivity, throughput and flexibility of its industrial, pharmaceutical and academic customers in a paradigm shift to what the company calls Constructive Biology ™ . The company's focus is on developing and delivering high-value products and design services in a variety of application areas, including engineered gene libraries, engineered cells that produce novel pharmaceuticals, improved vaccines, agricultural products, and biorefineries for the production of industrial chemicals and energy. Codon Devices' BioFAB ™ platform uses sophisticated informatics, robotics and sequencing technologies to accurately synthesize genetic codes orders of magnitude more rapidly and cost-effectively than other currently available technology. Codon Devices is currently scaling the platform to design and construct engineered genetic devices hundreds of kilobases to megabases in length.
Founded in 2004 within Flagship Ventures, Codon Devices commenced laboratory operations in March 2005. The company announced a Series A financing round of $13 million in June 2005 and achieved first revenues in November 2005. Investors include Alloy Ventures, Flagship Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. Codon Devices' scientific founders include Scientific Advisory Board Chairman George Church, Harvard Medical School; Drew Endy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Joseph Jacobson, MIT Media Lab; and Jay Keasling, University of California, Berkeley.
This project has been funded in whole with federal funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, under contract N01-CO-12400 with SAIC-Frederick, Inc. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.