• Acquisition brings combined approach to Synthetic DNA pursuit
    Irina Gbalou

News & Views

Acquisition brings combined approach to Synthetic DNA pursuit

Jan 11 2022

Global life sciences company Univercells SA, (Brussels), has acquired biotech SynHelix that offers a core DNA synthesis technology capable of producing long DNA fragments, in large quantities. The transaction will effect this technology’s transferal to an automated RNA platform being developed by Universals affiliate Quantoom Biosciences SA, for end-to-end RNA production.

Formerly supported by venture capital firm ADBio (France) and part of the Genopole® biocluster, SynHelix, (Evry-Courcouronnes) will become the Quantoom Research Center, a new affiliate of the Belgian company.

Alain Huriez, chairman and managing partner of AdBio partners said: “By investing in December 2019, we were the first venture capital firm to believe in SynHelix’s disruptive technology and to bet on the intelligence and ingenuity of its scientific founders, Irina Gbalou and Ahmed Said. The confirmation of the potential of the SynHelix technology was soon beyond our expectations and it was time to offer the company the fastest and most agile industrial development opportunity, as well as the possibility for its founders to continue innovating in a supportive environment. Univercells met all the criteria of an ideal industrial partner and we are thrilled to have contributed to this transaction, fulfilling our role as a company builder.”

José Castillo, CEO of Quantoom Biosciences, said: “The development of SynHelix’s synthetic DNA production platform is highly complementary to Quantoom’s flagship RNA platform, as linear DNA is one of the critical inputs of RNA production. This deal will unlock expertise, knowledge and IP on de novo DNA synthesis, where the SynHelix team holds valuable experience. Both companies’ founders, employees and investors share the same vision and mission, aiming at making new and complex biopharmaceuticals available to all and firmly believe in technology-driven affordability.

Irina Gbalou, CEO and co-founder of SynHelix added: “We are really thrilled to join the Univercells Group. SynHelix was founded with the mission of making an impact in synthetic biology, which faces a bottleneck in DNA supply. Alain Huriez and the entire AdBio partners team believed in us from the beginning and have never stopped supporting us throughout our journey. Providing access to their network and strategic vision gave us the opportunity to meet Univercells founders, Hugues Bultot and José Castillo. The SynHelix team is looking forward to working alongside Quantoom’s strong scientific, development and management teams.”

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