Codexis, Inc., a leading protein engineering company and developer of high-performance enzymes, and Molecular Assemblies, Inc., a pioneer in the field of enzymatic DNA synthesis, has announced a partnership to engineer enzymes to deliver differentiated and cost-effective solutions for the enzymatic synthesis of DNA.
Under the terms of the agreement, Codexis will purchase $1 million in Series A preferred stock of Molecular Assemblies, and John Nicols, Codexis’ President and CEO will join the Molecular Assemblies’ Board of Directors. Furthermore, by applying its CodeEvolver® platform technology to improve the DNA polymerase enzymes that are critical for enzymatic DNA synthesis, Codexis is eligible to earn additional Series A preferred stock that is expected, including success-based milestones, to accumulate to an ownership stake in excess of 10%. Molecular Assemblies will combine its advanced chemistries with Codexis’ enzymes to drive the process to commercialization.
The synthesis of DNA is a crucial component in several industries including pharmaceuticals, agriculture and synthetic biology. The current chemical process for gene and DNA synthesis was developed in the 1980s and has long been recognized as a bottleneck to expanding the applications for synthetic DNA. Enzymatic DNA synthesis can overcome the significant limitations of chemical synthesis and enable the cost-effective production of ever-lengthening strands of DNA, with the ultimate goal of creating a complete genome. Applications for synthetic DNA are numerous, with many yet to be discovered, and include biotherapeutics, diagnostics and production of improved textiles, crops, biomaterials and polymers. Among the most novel of these applications are bio-computing and DNA-based data storage.
“At Codexis, we are firm believers in the future-shaping potential of enzymatic DNA synthesis,” said Nicols “As we researched potential partners, we identified Molecular Assemblies as a pioneer in this field with a strong team and an industry-leading intellectual property position. Significant enzyme improvements from today’s standards are required to reach technical and economic viability, improvements we believe only our CodeEvolver® technology has the potential to achieve. The fact we are taking an equity stake in Molecular Assemblies reflects our confidence in the capability of their team, our ability to hit the critical enzyme improvement targets, and in the ability of enzymatic synthesis ultimately to transform DNA production.”
Michael J. Kamdar, President and CEO of Molecular Assemblies, said, “We are extremely excited to be partnering with Codexis. We believe harnessing the power of Codexis’ protein engineering capabilities with Molecular Assemblies’ scalable enzymatic DNA synthesis technology will accelerate the enzymatic DNA synthesis revolution. The sustainable, scalable, cost-effective, and on-demand production of long, high-quality DNA has the potential to unleash rapid innovation for a broad range of industries including synthetic biology, therapeutics, agriculture, and DNA data storage. Together, we expect that Molecular Assemblies and Codexis will be at the forefront of this transformation in DNA synthesis.”
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