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Camena Bioscience’s Series A $10m writes itself into the history of Cambridge’s DNA expertise





Camena Bioscience’s $10million Series A financing advances Cambridge’s compelling bid to be at the centre of the life science sector’s ability to write DNA, says co-founder and CEO Steve Harvey.

Steve, a leader in genomics research, co-founded Camena Bioscience with world-renowned molecular biologist and CSO Derek Stemple in 2016. The company produces long and complex synthetic genes using gSynth, the company’s pioneering DNA synthesis platform.

Camena Bioscience has closed a £10m Series A financing as demand for its DNA synthesis technology increases. Picture: Camena Bioscience
Camena Bioscience has closed a £10m Series A financing as demand for its DNA synthesis technology increases. Picture: Camena Bioscience

“We are delighted to have closed this latest round of funding with Mercia, which provides further validation of Camena’s approach,” said Steve, following the announcement of the funding, led by Mercia.

He continued: “Synthetic biology’s value chain involves reading, writing and manipulating DNA.

“The ability to read DNA has been substantially changed by Cambridge which has made routine human genome sequencing a reality.”

The second part of synthetic biology’s holy trinity is the writing of DNA, which has evolved more slowly until now.

Camena Bioscience CEO and co-founder Steve Harvey with CSO and co-founder Derek Stemple. Picture: Keith Heppell
Camena Bioscience CEO and co-founder Steve Harvey with CSO and co-founder Derek Stemple. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Developments in DNA synthesis have not kept pace with DNA sequencing and editing capabilities,” explains Steve. “Camena’s gSynth platform is revolutionising the DNA synthesis market by unlocking access to genes and accelerating discovery pipelines.”

2022 was the company’s breakthrough year – the point at which it started generating revenue.

“Our technology is designed to enable our customers – biotech companies – to access genes and they were a little bit held back by the existing technology being a bit slow, or not getting all the genes they wanted. Our tech allows them to access those genes but in a far more accurate way.

“The customers we are now working with are very large consumers of genes – it’s not necessarily a large number of customers, but they are top pharma companies.”

However, it’s not just the quality and consistency of the genes – it’s also the drastically reduced environmental footprint required to get them. Camena Bioscience’s wholly novel enzymatic technology avoids the massive solvent use required in traditional techniques. It’s a grey area because the industry doesn’t report how much solvent is used, but it’s conventionally burned – until now.

“As the focus on sustainability and supply-chain security becomes more acute, Camena is leading the way with a green synthesis technology and is already well positioned to serve this burgeoning market,” concludes Steve. “The invention of next-generation DNA sequencing technologies transformed our ability to read DNA. Our goal is to enable our customers to write DNA with the same confidence and ease.”

Camena Bioscience currently has a team of 16 at its Chesterford Research Park base, and is due to expand to 25 before the end of the year. Picture: Keith Heppell
Camena Bioscience currently has a team of 16 at its Chesterford Research Park base, and is due to expand to 25 before the end of the year. Picture: Keith Heppell

Lee Lindley, a member of Mercia’s investment team, has joined Camena’s board as part of the financing. He has nearly 10 years of corporate financing experience; he also holds a BA in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge and a masters in research methods from the University of Manchester.

Lee said: “The market for synthetic genes is growing rapidly but much of the demand is for complex genes which are extremely difficult to produce accurately. Camena’s technology is a game-changer that could unlock a much bigger global market. We’re excited to support Camena on its next stage of growth.”

Camena Bioscience currently has a team of 16 at its Chesterford Research Park base, and is due to expand by nine to 25 before the end of the year.



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