Univercells acquires SynHelix to advance DNA synthesis

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

January 7, 2022 -- Univercells has acquired SynHelix, a biotechnology company that aims to streamline biotherapeutics development through a scalable, automated DNA synthesis technology that provides one-step generation of long DNA fragments in large quantities with high purity.

SynHelix's offering will complement the RNA platform being developed by Quantoom Biosciences (Quantoom), a Univercells affiliate that is developing an end-to-end RNA production technology. Prior to the acquisition, SynHelix was supported by AdBio partners (formerly Advent France Biotechnology), a French life sciences venture capital firm.

SynHelix will become the Quantoom Research Center, a separate legal entity and new affiliate of the Univercells Group, which is based in France. The founders of SynHelix and AdBio will subsequently become minority shareholders of Univercells, according to the companies.

Headquartered in Évry-Courcouronnes, France, SynHelix develops an alternative to bacterial DNA amplification, which requires large and expensive industrial facilities, as well as complex processing and quality control steps, yet which often produces low yields.

SynHelix said it plans to transfer its technology to Quantoom's automated platform, integrating a "new generation DNA bioreactor" that can benefit productivity and costs, both for R&D and production needs.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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