Startups, Venture

Faster, cheaper DNA sequencing gets Omniome $60M led by Chinese investors

A San Diego company making new DNA sequencing tech just brought home $60 million in a fundraising round chock full of Chinese investors.

Dave Mullarkey

The company is called Omniome — first founded by an ex-Illumina employee Kandaswamy (Swamy) Vijayan in 2013 —  and it says its tech can provide highly accurate and fast sequencing results at a low cost. Vijayan has since left Omniome, and the company is now run by CEO Dave Mullarkey.

This new Series B round was led by new investors Decheng Capital (Shanghai) and Hillhouse Capital (Beijing), joined by Lam Research Capital (US) and Nan Fung Life Sciences (Hong Kong). The round is the latest in an avalanche of deals involving US-based biotech companies teaming up with investors overseas.

Kandaswamy Vijayan

The company’s tech is called “Sequencing by Binding” (SBB), which it says can give an “enhanced precision of nucleotide and DNA matching by leveraging the natural matching ability of the polymerase.” This decreases runtimes and boosts the number of samples per run.

First incubated in the San Diego tech accelerator EvoNexus, Omniome plans to use the cash to expand the company’s team — which currently stands at 40 people, according to the company’s website. They’re looking to add staff in several areas, including engineering, and to increase its research and production capacity. Omniome also plans to optimize its technology.

“We have been able to validate the tremendous power of our proprietary sequencing biochemistry,” Mullarkey said in a statement. “Now we are directing our efforts on product development to rapidly advance our first commercial instrument prototypes.”


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