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Broken String Biosciences joins global accelerator

12 February 2021

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Cardiff University genomics startup Broken String Biosciences, which works to unlock next generation medicines, is joining Illumina, Inc - the global company creation engine.

The fledgling company is one of nine UK and US businesses selected for fresh funding incentives by Illumina, which focuses on partnering with entrepreneurs to build breakthrough genomics startups.

Broken String Biosciences Limited is developing a platform of novel DNA sequencing tools to assess genome stability and to unlock the next generation of innovative medicines, including cell and gene therapies.

Professor Simon Reed, Cancer and Genetics, Cardiff University School of Medicine and the company’s Chief Scientific Officer said: “We are delighted to be joining the Illumina Accelerator at its European research HQ in Cambridge. Illumina, Inc brings a wealth of expertise in nurturing global genomic startups and leveraging venture capital in pursuit of genomic medicines.”

During a six-month funding cycle, Illumina Accelerator Cambridge will provide Broken String with access to seed investment and Illumina sequencing systems and reagents, as well as business guidance, genomics expertise, and fully operational lab space next to Illumina’s Cambridge campus.

“Broken String is one of four UK capital commitments selected to drive value as part of Illumina Accelerator Cambridge startups as they strive to unlock the power of the genome,” said Amanda Cashin, Ph.D., co-founder and Global Head of Illumina for Startups.

“Our newest investments demonstrate the depth and breadth of genomics applications across the globe,” said Alex Aravanis, M.D, Ph.D., Chief Technology Officer at Illumina.

These nine genomics startups are focused on discovering breakthrough therapeutics, diagnostics, and direct-to-consumer applications to transform human health and beyond.

Alex Aravanis, M.D, Ph.D.

Broken String Biosciences aims to advance therapeutic discovery and development by assessing the stability of the genome.

Precision mapping of genomic breaks developed by Felix Dobbs, a PhD student in Reed’s laboratory and a co-founder of Broken String, provides insights that will enable the development of novel therapies.

Dr Patrick van Eijk from the Reed laboratory, and Simon Kerr of Kerr Consult are the other co-founders of the company, which is developing a platform of sequencing tools to enable the safe and sustainable development of the next generation of innovative medicines, including cell and gene therapies.

Illumina has revealed that over £20 million in initial UK capital commitments have been secured from a select group of investors, including a £10 million commitment from cornerstone investor LifeArc, a leading UK independent medical research charity anchored in Stevenage.

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