Ansa Biotechnologies — Powering the Next Era of DNA-Enabled Industries
DNA is the “blueprint for life”. It encodes proteins — the workhorses of our bodies — and is a core element of life sciences and medical research.
One of the greatest scientific advancements of the twentieth century was the ability to chemically synthesize DNA in a lab. This development marked a transformational moment for the life sciences field as it helped propel the biotechnology industry, enabling the synthesis of new genes which unlocked a large swatch of therapeutic and diagnostic applications.
Yet, over the past decades, innovations in the DNA synthesis space have been slow to evolve.
Fast forward to today, what started as a transformative technology over 40 years ago has become a bottleneck. Despite improvements, the industry’s gold standard for DNA synthesis still relies on the same phosphoramidite chemistry-based method that was developed decades ago — a method that relies on harsh chemical conditions that damage the DNA molecules and limit the accuracy and length of DNA sequences that can be synthesized artificially.
Addressing this bottleneck is a key priority, particularly given the growth that the life sciences field saw over the past few years and the emergence of new applications enabled by synthetic DNA, from cell and gene therapies, to biomanufacturing and biofuels, to DNA-based data storage and beyond.
Leading this effort is Ansa Bio, a Berkley-based DNA synthesis company that is developing a new way to make DNA that will be faster, cleaner, and more accurate than existing methods.
I am inspired by the work Daniel Arlow, Sebastian Palluk, Jared Ellefson, and the entire Ansa Bio team are doing to develop and scale a technology that enables the synthesis of high-quality and accurate sequences of DNA at lengths currently unreachable by the conventional chemistry-based method. Instead of harsh chemicals, Ansa’s technology leverages the same machinery that nature uses to make DNA, enzymes, allowing it to achieve rapid synthesis of sequences that are hundreds of bases long.
Ansa’s technology stems from the graduate research of both founders at the University of California at Berkeley. Since their initial research into the enzymatic approach back in 2018, it has been amazing to watch them execute on their vision and build a truly innovative company.
We have been honored to partner with the Ansa team over the last two years since their initial seed round and look forward to continuing to work with them as they scale a groundbreaking technology that we believe will mark a new era for applications in life sciences, synthetic biology and other industries.