ScienceTechnology

DNA Synthesis Companies

A number of new DNA synthesis startups have launched in the past few years. This post is a brief listing of the companies in the field (of which I’m aware), in no particular order. Some of these companies make short oligos on arrays, others make longer length genes, and some do both. For detailed information on DNA synthesis technologies and approaches have a look at these reviews: Hughes and Ellington or Kosuri and Church.

Inkjet based processes (Phosphoramidite)
Agilent Technologies (Santa Clara, CA, USA)
Agilent has a synthesis process (SurePrint) where arrays of up to 244k DNA oligos, with lengths up to 230 nt are synthesized on glass slides with an inkjet-like process. See this video which describes the process.

Twist Bioscience Corp. (San Francisco, CA, USA)
Twist synthesizes DNA oligo arrays using phosphoramidite chemistry on a silicon chip patterned with about 10k microwells. These oligos can be subsequently assembled into genes of up to 1.8kbp. See this presentation by CEO Emily Leproust at SB7.0.

Electrochemical processes (Phosphoramidite)
CustomArray, Inc. (Bothell, WA, USA) (Acquired by GenScript Biotech in Dec. 2017)
CustomArray uses electrochemical detritylation and chips with thousands of individually addressable electrodes to synthesize arrays up of up to 90k oligos. They offer oligo lengths to 200 nt.

Photolithographic processes (Phosphoramidite)
Roche NimbleGen Inc. (Madison, WI, USA)
Roche NimbleGen uses a maskless photolithographic process for its array synthesis, which was initially developed at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The Maskless Array Synthesis (MAS) can make large oligonucleotide libraries with lengths up to 100nt. This platform is used in a number of products primarily for target enrichment workflows (complexity reduction for NGS) and more recently peptide libraries on arrays.

LC Sciences, LLC (Houston, TX, USA)
LC Sciences has a process which uses a digital micromirror device to selectively deprotect spots on an array by controlling which spots are exposed to light. They offer oligo lengths to 150 nt.

Thermal processes (Phosphoramidite)
Evonetix Ltd (Cambridge, UK)
A spin-out company from Cambridge Consultants. Based on their patent application (US20160184788 A1) they use an array chip with integrated micro-heaters on each spot. On each synthesis cycle, a wax-like masking material is added which protects array spots where the micro-heater is not activated. Protected spots are physically isolated from the addition reaction, which may explain their claimed low error rates.

Fluidic processes (Phosphoramidite)
Synthomics, Inc. (Menlo Park, CA, USA)
Synthomics have developed a highly parallel oligo synthesizer (“Green Machine”) capable of making 1,536 oligos per chip.

SGI-DNA (La Jolla, CA, USA)
SGI-DNA use fluidics automation to carry out Gibson assembly for gene synthesis.

The Genome Foundry Ltd (Oxford, UK)
This company is an offshoot of Oxford Nanopore which was revealed at one of their London Calling conferences. It uses the same digital microfluidics technologies as in the Voltrax to carry out gene assembly.

MacConnell Research Corporation. (San Diego, CA, USA)
MacConnell Research is building an array device with 10,000 chambers were control of the chemical reaction is acheived though microfluidic valves. See this SBIR grant.

Kilobaser (Briefcase Biotec GmbH) (Graz, Austria)
Kilobaser is developing a tabletop DNA synthesizer for making short DNA oligos (primers). It uses a microfluidic chip to reduce reagent costs.

Enzymatic based processes
Molecular Assemblies Inc. (San Diego, CA, USA)
Molecular Assemblies is engineering terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferases (TdT) and reversible terminators for non-tempate directed enzymatic DNA synthesis. See this presentation by CSO Bill Efcavitch at SB7.0.

DNA Script (Paris, France)
DNA Script is engineering template free DNA polymerases (likely also TdT) and modified nucleotides for de-novo enzymatic DNA synthesis. See this presentation by CEO Thomas Ybert at GP-write 2017.

Nuclera Nucleics Ltd. (Cambridge, UK)
Nuclera Nucleics is engineering terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferases (TdT) for enzymatic DNA synthesis.

Other/Unknown
LabGenius (London, UK)
Unknown DNA synthesis process.

Dodo OmniData, Inc. (San Diego, CA, USA)
Dodo OmniData is making a device for storing digital data onto DNA polymers. Unknown DNA synthesis process.

Defunct
Codon Devices (Boston, MA, USA) (2005-2009)

Gen9 (Boston, MA, USA) (2009-2016)
Gen9 used nested sets of PCR primers to selectively amplify oligo subpools with sequences required for assembly in an approach similar to Kosuri et al 2010. Their assets were bought out by Ginkgo Bioworks in 2016. See this Boston Globe article for details.

Cambrian Genomics (San Francisco, CA, USA) (2011-2015)
Attempted to select sequence verified gene assemblies from a sequencer using a laser to recover only correct constructs.

Genesis DNA (Cambridge, MA, USA) (2015-2018)

Traditional vendors (column based phosphoramidite)
IDT (Coralville, IA, USA)

GenScript USA, Inc. (Piscataway, NJ)

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (GeneArt)

Blue Heron (Bothell, WA, USA)

Eurofins Genomics

ATUM (formerly DNA2.0) (Newark, CA, USA)

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