Gene editing is one of hottest areas of life sciences. Many scientists are working towards using CRISPR technology to provide genetic solutions to conditions by literally editing the DNA in the genes.
Desktop Genetics provides gene editing software (SaaS and on-prem) to make CRISPR gene editing easy and cost-effective. With their platform, DESKGEN, scientists can design any genome-editing experiment in any cell line, and generate tailored CRISPR library designs for their research.
The company was formed by three postgraduates from the University of Cambridge and was an ‘off market’ deal.
Dr Darrin Disley offered himself as the ‘Venturer’, and co-invested alongside the Boundary Capital as well as becoming Chairman. Dr Disley had been mentoring the team informally for a while, and helped to put the commercial strategy in place, even to get them investment-ready. He is himself a serial entrepreneur (as well as inventor and philanthropist) and currently the CEO of Horizon Discovery plc which he grew and took public as one of the fastest-growing new British life science companies. The Venturer role is the executive/entrepreneur who co-invests alongside Boundary Capital and takes an active seat on the Board. They help to align the interests of all parties and de-risk the business.
Along with Dr Disley, strategic co- investment came from other experienced angels e.g. Dr Jonathan Milner the founder and CEO of Abcam plc.
Boundary initially invested in August 2013 which triggered co-investment from TSB of £100k non-dilutive grant. Further investment was made in September 2015 in a £1.3m round plus £250k grant.
The value of the business is currently conservatively valued at 2x the original investment.
Dr Riley Doyle, the CEO and founder of Desktop Genetics said: “We had a few sources of seed capital we could have turned to. What attracted us to Boundary was the alignment of the Venturer with the money and our business. Helpful informal advice and contacts have been valuable too along the way.”